The California Fish and Game Commission did the right thing and rejected the proposed changes to striped bass regulations that would have reduced the minimum size to 12 inches and increased the bag limit to 6 fish (and as many as 20 in some areas).
To thunderous applause and a near standing-ovation from the throng of 200 plus anglers who packed the meeting, the Commissioners voted 4-0 not to pursue a the proposal. By the way, anglers all over the state need to pass along a hearty thank you to Fish & Game Commission President, Jim Kellogg, who really took a stand for the state’s outdoorsmen on this deal.
The regulations changes had come about not because DFG thought they were warranted, but instead because the Department was sued in 2008 by the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta. The Coalition is a group of San Joaquin Valley water districts, who asserted that striped bass are harming native species, including endangered salmon and Delta smelt.
Now, nobody denies that stripers eat fish like salmon smolt, but come on here people…the two species have coexisted since striped bass were introduced to California in the 1850’s. And during many of those years we had excellent salmon…and striped bass runs. This is a political play to divert attention from the fact that record water exports are putting the entire Delta ecosystem in great peril.
It’s pretty clear when you look at the overall trend in Delta species: all of them have been on a sharp decline, which points to the fact that it’s the health of the system…not the striped bass…that’s the culprit here.
In any case, this is good news though I’m sure we’re not out of the woods here yet. Expect more lawsuit to follow. A nice victory in the meantime however!