PUBLIC FORUM - Any member of the public may address and/or ask questions of the Commission relating to the implementation of its policies or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission. As a general rule, action cannot be taken on issues not listed on the agenda. Staff will normally be requested to follow up on such items at the discretion of the Commission.
John Stroh of the Mosquito Vector Control Association reported that members of his association had recently met with DFG staff to discuss matters of mutual interest in wetland management, specifically in regard to mosquito control. He stated that the high likelihood of West Nile Virus (WNV) entering California calls for an increased awareness of these issues. He requested the Commission's support for the development of wetland BMPs between his association and the Department.
Vice President Chrisman asked Mr. Stroh to explain the importance of controlling WNV.
Mr. Stroh gave a brief summary of WNV in the United States and California, and stated that he was looking for support from the Commission to develop a long term management plan.
John Carlson stated that the Department agreed with Mr. Stroh's comments and that it is aware of the different interests in wetlands management.
Vice President Chrisman stated that he agreed with the importance of being aware of the public health implications involved in wetland management.
Don Gomsi of the Coachilla Valley Mosquito and Vector Control requested a delay in the start of waterfowl hunting season until at least November 1, or even November 15 to assist in vector control. He noted that ducks are not yet present in Coachilla Valley until that date.
James Saulnier of the Coachella Valley Mosquito and Vector Control stated his support for Mr. Gomsi's request.
Mike McCorkle spoke on the start of sea cucumber fishing season and the use of trawls in the Santa Barbara area, as well as describing the differences between sea cucumber fishing and finfish fishing. He stated that the sea cucumbers must be cleaned (gutted) right away to keep them from disintegrating, but that DFG wardens have told him this cleaning constitutes processing and is illegal. He then read Section 8031 of the Fish and Game Code, and requested this issue be clarified.
Deputy Director Mastrup stated that the Department would look into this issue and report back to the Commission at the next meeting.
Zeke Grader reported that they have begun to tackle the issue of universal interpretation of both codes and regulations for example, in the case of the sea cucumber, salmon trollers are allowed to clean their salmon at sea and that does not constitute "processing." He stated he would also like to find out why the confidential fish tickets are being shared with other law enforcement agencies, such as local police; and that he believed these things are not done out of malice by the wardens, but rather out of ignorance. He noted that perhaps changes in enforcement should bediscussed at Commission Marine Subcommittee meetings before being implemented.
Florence Sloane spoke on recent changes that the California Legislature has made in regard to hunting dog field trials and game birds. She requested the Commission make changes to clarify ambiguities with the repeal of sections 3509 and 3510 of the Fish and Game Code.
Deputy Director Mastrup stated that the Department has begun to look into the convoluted laws of field trials of hunting dogs and believes the Department has the staff available to work on this issue as an agenda item for the October meeting.
Vice President Chrisman asked Ms. Sloane to provide a list of her requests to the Department.
Lynn Corboz provided a handout to the Commissioners on cottontail rabbit control issues. She stated her retirement community has approximately 2000 rabbits which have caused great damage to their greenbelt and turf. She noted that because Mission Viejo has banned guns, they can't hunt the rabbits, and that repellants and fencing are very expensive. She requested the Commission approve cage trapping and special hunts with unlimited bag limits within their community.
Deputy Director Mastrup suggested that cottontail rabbits be added to depredation list, and that the Department supports this move as it adds flexibility to solve many problems. The Commission directed its staff to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a special hunt pursuant to Section 325 of the Fish and Game Code.
Gary Martinet spoke on the license appeal hearing for William Iverson. He stated that Mr. Iverson has been a nuisance for 20 years as well as having multiple convictions for poaching. He stated that he is not in support of an approval for any type of fishing license for Mr. Iverson.
Jim Bassler spoke on the benefits of permit stacking in the nearshore fisheries and formally requested that the Department look into this possibility. He noted that it would put diversity back into the fishery that trip limits have taken out. He stated that he is willing to pay additional fees to cover the cost to the Department.
Guy Grundmeier requested the transferability of permits because his boat is now worthless. He reported that two Senior Biologists had testified at a Sierra Club hearing and that he will send in the tape with a formal complaint. He stated that there are too many protected areas and there have been too many restrictive changes to the nearshore fishery. He also noted that he will appeal the location on his recent permits because the language was too difficult to understand.
Chris Hoeflinger spoke on different conservation areas and asked why the Cowcod Conservation Area and the California Rockfish Conservation Area were not designated as "Marine Protected Areas." He stated that the regulatory language for rockfish in the Channel Islands is extremely confusing to the public.
Fred Wendell explained the differences in several different protected areas and stated that Mr. Hoeflinger had raised valid questions but that there are limitations with the definitions of different protected areas.
Mr. Hoeflinger clarified his question and Mr. Wendell responded that the Department will begin an analysis and that the regional working groups will address and evaluate these MLPA issues once there is budget resolution and funding available.
Paul Weakland complimented Vice President Chrisman on his commitment to the State of California. He stated that fishermen still feel that there are hidden agendas within the Commission and that even though he attended the Marine Subcommittee meeting he was not given any additional information in regard to abalone issues.
Vice President Chrisman reviewed the Commission's commitment to hold three special meetings to discuss the abalone plan (ARMP), but have not been able to schedule them due to budget and time constraints.
Paul Weakland suggested that sport fishermen pay a landing tax to help support the management of that fishery.