Have you heard about the kookey new Bill that would basically declares war on California striped bass?
Introduced by Assemblywoman Jean Fuller, R-Bakersfield last Friday, AB 1553 would lift fishing restrictions on striped bass, which are non-native to California. The rationale is stripers are invasive, apex predators that devour endangered fish such as Delta smelt, winter-run Chinook salmon and the soon to be listed longfin smelt.
By allowing for anarchy-style fishing (no size or bag limits), striper populations could be severely effected by over-harvest, resulting in yet another opportunity lost for the state’s anglers. In addition, the bill would cancel any revenue raised by the Bay-Delta Sport Fishing Enhancement Stamp that was slated for striped bass recovery.
“This bill is just trying to strike a balance,” Fuller said. “The state’s water system is failing and we are taking all these steps to alleviate the impact on endangered fish, which has a major effect on people up and down the state that don’t have enough water.”
California native fish expert, noted biologist Dr. Peter Moyle from U.C. Davis says this about it:
“There is no hard evidence that striped bass specifically have caused any fish declines or even suppressed fish populations in the Delta, although it is certainly possible under the right circumstances.” Read his entire response at Alex Breitler’s blog in the Stockton Record.
And there’s the rub. It’s all about the water. She’s throwing stripers under the bus when the real problem with the Delta system is a lack of water. If you need any more proof of that, just look at who’s backing the bill — the Modesto Irrigation District and the Kern County Water Agency. Kinda says it all doesn’t it?
There’s no denying that striped bass eat untold thousands of salmon and smelt. But so too do largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, spotted bass, black and white crappie, channel catfish and a whole host of other non-native species. Are we going to try to get rid of them all, too?
Plus, before we started exporting record amounts of water out of the Delta in recent years, you never heard much talk about the so-called “striper problem.” Stripers (and all those other invasive species I just mentioned) have co-existed with salmon and smelt for 150 years. The massive, record-high water diversions have come about only over the past few years. Is it a coincidence that so many fisheries are suddenly in dire straits? I think not…
We aren’t addressing the issues here, people, and by doing that we will see the decline of all our fisheries.
Hope those suckerfish can hang on…they soon may be all we have left!