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THE FISH AND GAME COMMISSION
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State of California

THE FISH AND GAME COMMISSION

 

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Meeting of
February 5, 2004 (Thursday)
9:00 a.m.

California State University
Office of the Chancellor
Dumke Auditorium*
401 Golden Shore
Long Beach

AGENDA

ALL MEETINGS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

DISCUSSION ITEMS
NOTE: Items may be heard on either day and in any order pursuant to the determination of the Commission President.
1. PRESENTATION OF SHIKAR SAFARI "WILDLIFE OFFICER OR THE YEAR" AWARD.

James Mitchell, representing the Shikar Safari Club International, presented the Shikar Safari Wildlife Officer of the Year Award to Lt. Joe Brana. Lt. Joe Brana accepted the award and thanked the Shikar Safari Club.

2.

PUBLIC FORUM

Karen Reyna, Ocean Conservancy, provided an update on the Squid Fishery Management Plan. She stated that she had meet with squid fishermen, Environmental NGOs, the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Fish and Game to discuss options. She indicated that they would hopefully come back to the Commission in March with some options.

Peter Halmay, Sea Urchin Harvesters Association of California, discussed SB 389, authored by Senator Alpert, which established a sea urchin marketing commission under the Department of Food and Agriculture. He stated that though the idea taxing the industry is not popular, it allows for work which needs to be done to continue. He indicated that the program has been started and the goal is to have 100 divers collecting fishery data which will benefit the fishery in years to come.

Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, indicated that he has sent a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger and Director Broddrick requesting an investigation into an alleged suppressed Department report on the western burrowing owl petition. He requested that the Commission reconsider the petition. He stated that he believed a Department report which recommended candidacy status for the western burrowing owl has been suppressed and that the Department refused to release the document pursuant to a Public Records Act request. He indicated that the Department has characterized the report as a draft but that the two reports reach opposite conclusions. He indicated that the Commission was misled concerning a shift in density and stated that there is no factual basis for the belief that the owls can move somewhere else. He stated that there is more data on the status and declines of western burrowing owls than exists for other species and that the Department exaggerated the population estimate, giving an extremely biased and flawed report. He stated that the Commission failed to address whether the burrowing owl was threatened in a significant portion of its range. He urged the Commission not to ratify its findings.

Lynne Corboz, representing the Casta del Sol Homeowners' Association, requested the Commission to once again direct the Department to investigate and develop regulations for a special hunt under Section 325 of the Fish and Game Code for a large surplus of cottontail rabbits at her association.

Sonke Mastrup reported that the cottontail rabbit problem is also an ongoing issue in other areas of the state, that the Department has been investigating this issue and is focusing on a legislative remedy. He reminded the Commission that Section 325 requires a hearing in the county before the surplus hunt can be approved. He pointed out that the Commission may adopt regulations which would allow the use of box traps to take cottontails in Orange County. He emphasized that the rabbits taken must be eaten.

Commissioner Flores asked whether the rabbits could be donated to others.

Deputy Director Mastrup replied that they could. He reminded the Commission that Commissioner Hattoy has previously volunteered to chair the county hearing. He further stated that the Department is willing to bring a proposal to the Commission which would authorize the use of box traps in Orange County.

Ms. Corboz asked whether the Commission would include the use of air guns in the special hunt regulations. She stated that while the City Council has an ordinance prohibiting the use of air guns, a permit for a state legalizing the taking of rabbits would enable them to approve a variance.

Deputy Director Mastrup replied that air rifles are currently a legal method of take.

Ms. Corboz indicated that she has submitted a proposal to amend the hunting regulations to allow the use of box traps in Orange County.

Commissioner Schuchat asked whether allowing the use of box traps would solve the problem.

Ms. Corboz answered that a special hunt would also be needed to solve the problem.

The Commission directed the Department to develop a proposal to amend the hunting regulations to include box traps and to also develop regulations for a special hunt pursuant to Section 325 of the Fish and Game Code.

Commissioner Schuchat expressed concerns about wanton waste of animals taken.

Paul Weakland provided a handout concerning problems with aquaculture and hatcheries. He stated that the laws regulating aquaculture are not adequate. He indicated that once one problem is solved, another surfaces, and that will continue to happen. He commented that too much genetic diversity stops spawning. He remarked that the Department has refused to show facts, misrepresented data, and purged information from its records He stated that we need to rid ourselves of the problems with aquaculture and that mechanisms in nature are not being acknowledged.

Bob Strickland, United Anglers, stated that he is not against commercial fishing but would like to see limited entry in every fishery. He commented that if we don't have enough fish, we shouldn't continue to let people into a fishery. He expressed concern about the lack of wardens and poaching. He asked how he could help to get money for more wardens as we need to make sure the wardens get sufficient pay.

President Flores instructed Mr. Strickland to testify at the Legislative budget hearings and make the legislators know there is a problem. He stated that we need to rethink the role of the warden and get them doing what they were originally meant to do. He emphasized that the Commission agrees and supports this endeavor.

Commissioner Schuchat expressed his agreement with Mr. Strickland concerning restricted access on all commercial fisheries. He stated that we are moving in that direction, but it takes a lot of time and energy to put the necessary regulations in place.

Mr. Strickland expressed concern about commercial fishermen selling fish right off their boats in the harbor and the lack of accountability.

Pete Halmay explained that the fisherman must buy a license to do this and must fill out fish tickets and send them in. He stated that wardens check these fishermen more often than they check the larger fish buyers.

President Flores remarked that warden pay is one issue on which all our constituents can come together and work together.

Commissioner Schuchat stated that there is no organized coalition in the Legislature speaking on this issue.

Mr. Strickland indicated that he will do his best to put one together.

Bob Ingles commented that he believes an adjustment of the rockfish OY is needed since fishing is taking place in deeper water now.

Executive Director Treanor stated that the Commission must make decisions based on best available data, yet doesn't have adequate data to make its marine fishery decisions. He suggested that the Commission's constituents should also request the Legislature provide funding for biologists and research, as well as warden pay increases.

3.

ADOPTION/RATIFICATION OF COMMISSION FINDINGS RE: REJECTION OF PETITION TO LIST THE WESTERN BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) AS AN ENDANGERED OR THREATENED SPECIES.

Commission ratified its findings of December 4, 2003, concerning rejection of the petition to list the western burrowing owl as an endangered or threatened species.

4.

PRESENTATION BY THE PROACTIVE COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN'S GROUP REGARDING THEIR PROPOSALS FOR THE FEDERAL PHASE OF MPAS AT CINMS WITH A SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES GOAL.

Received presentation from Chris Hoeflinger and Chris Miller.

5.

CONSIDERATION OF THE PETITION AND THE DEPARTMENT'S STATUS REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON THE PETITION TO LIST THE XANTUS'S MURRELET (Synthliboramphus hypoleucus) AS A THREATENED SPECIES AND ADOPTION OF COMMISSION FINDINGS.

Received Department's report and public testimony. Commission made finding that the petitioned action is warranted and authorized its staff to publish notice of its intent to amend Section 670.5, Title 14, CCR, to add Xantus's murrelet to the list of threatened species.

6.

RECEIPT OF PUBLIC TESTIMONY ON THE DRAFT ABALONE RECOVERY AND MANAGEMENT PLAN.

Received Deaprtment's report and public testimony.

OTHER
7. RECEIPT OF DEPARTMENT INFORMATIONAL ITEMS.
  (A)

UPDATE ON DEPARTMENT'S BUDGET.

Deputy Director Mastrup provided the Department's report.

  (B)

UPDATE ON DEPARTMENT MONITORING PLAN FOR THE CHANNEL ISLANDS MPAS, INCLUDING SOCIO-ECONOMIC STUDIES.

John Ugoretz provided the Department's report. Received public testimony.

  (C)

UPDATE ON STATUS OF NEW ZEALAND MUDSNAILS FOUND IN PUTAH CREEK.

Deputy Director Mastrup provided the Department's report.

  (D)

UPDATE ON CRFS.

Marija Vojkovich, Steve Crook and Director Broddrick provided the Department's report.

  (E) ADDED ITEM: UPDATE ON MANAGEMENT OF DEPARTMENT LANDS IN THE SOUTH COAST REGION

Regional Manager Raysbrook provided the Department's report.

 

8. RECEIPT OF COMMISSION INFORMATIONAL ITEMS.
  (A)

SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS.

No Report.

  (B)

STAFF REPORTS.

No Report. Commissioner Kellogg asked the status of the Commission's request for a hiring freeze exemption. Executive Director Treanor replied that the request has not yet been approved. Commissioner Schuchat announced that the Marine Subcommittee is recruiting.

9.

RECEIPT OF FEDERAL AGENCIES INFORMATIONAL ITEMS.

No Report.

10.

RECEIPT OF LEGAL COUNSEL INFORMATIONAL ITEMS.

Counsel reminded the Commission that it is time for the Commissioners to prepare their Reports of Economic Interests.