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.
Deputy Attorney General read a letter received by the
Commission from Mr. Ilson New regarding the permitting process for
the conversion of spot prawn trawl permits to trap permits.
Executive Director Treanor read into the record a fax from
Gordon Fox regarding his suggestions for moving forward with the
spot prawn trawl permits to trap conversion process.
Steve Rebuck indicated that for the last 10 years he has
served as the Abalone Technical Consultant to the Sea Otter Recovery
Team and that he was recently asked to brief the US Congressional
Subcommittee on Fisheries Conservation, Wildlife & Oceans on the
status of the Sea Otter Translocation project within the San
Nicholas Island management zone. He provided the Commission with
both a video and written copies of that testimony. He emphasized the
importance of continuing zonal sea otter management in California
and he noted that there are currently three species of abalone which
could be rendered extinct if the sea otter population is not
controlled in Southern California.
Karen Reyna provided the Commission with handouts and
requested that the Commission take emergency action to close the
squid fishery north of Pillar Point. She indicated that The Ocean
Conservancy was notified last week that squid fishing was taking
place near the Farallon Islands. She explained that historically,
market squid have not been fished in this area and they are
concerned about the threats to the marine mammals and birds which
inhabit the Farallon Islands, many of which have varying levels of
protection in California. She also explained that nocturnal birds
have been affected by the bright squid boat lights, as observed by
Dr. Pile, who also observed sea lions in nets in this area. She
provided testimony from Great White Adventures, an expedition diving
boat that is often in this area, which included pictures of sea
lions that had been shot following the observation of light boats,
testimony of an oily sheen on the water and a statement that there
were no white shark encounters the entire time the fishing boats
were present. She also provided a letter that discussed the
disturbances to birds colonies that result from these squid boats.
She noted that the further north these boats travel, the higher the
risk of salmon bycatch. She requested that the Commission take
emergency action to close this squid fishery and that a Marine
Subcommittee meeting be held in Northern California before the next
Commission meeting in November.
Eric Larson summarized the status of the squid fishery in
Northern California, and indicated that the Department has been
closely monitoring the activity around the Farallon Islands. He
reported that the squid boats have recently stopped fishing in this
In response to a question, Executive Director Treanor
explained that if there was a threat to the resources or general
health and welfare issues, the Commission has the authority to take
emergency action for the immediate conservation, preservation or
protection of any birds, mammals, reptiles or fish including but not
limited to any eggs or nests.
Commissioner Schuchat requested that this issue be added to
the Commission's November meeting agenda. He indicated that the
Marine Subcommittee would also address the issue at its next
Eric Larson responded that the Department would be able to
provide the Commission with additional information on the fishery in
question at the November Meeting.
James Davies asked the Commission for exception to the current
mountain lion hunting laws. He explained that he would like to do a
legal cougar hunt outside of California and would like to be allowed
to bring the animal back into the state and have it mounted and
donated to Simpson College as part of their art appreciation
program. He provided the Commission with letters of support from the
Deputy Director Mastrup explained that the statutes adopted
pursuant to Proposition 117, only the Legislature on a 4/5 vote has
the authority change the law to permit this type of activity.
Dennis Fox stated that both water and wildlife issues are
natural resources and should not be grouped with park issues. He
suggested that ballot initiatives like Proposition 117, should
include an environmental analysis along with fiscal analysis for
Robert Ingles indicated that he had just received notice from
the Department that the shallow nearshore rockfish fishery will be
closed down the second week of November. He requested that the
Commission re-allocate the catch between recreational and commercial
fishermen back to the 80/20 split. He also questioned if the
nearshore rockfish season would be open at all next year and if
gopher fish could be removed from the shallow nearshore species
Eric Larson responded that this was a federal issue that
should be addressed to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. He
explained that this year salmon fishing was poor in this area, so
the effort shifted from salmon to rockfish in early July. He noted
that next year the Department has a provision to lengthen the season
and when coupled with a productive salmon fishery, should provide
increased fishing opportunity.
Richard Johnson discussed fishing regulations in the
Sacramento River area, specifically just below Keswick Dam to
Deschutes Road. He also indicated that he is actively involved in
the management of a wildlife area on the Sacramento River where he
has encountered fishermen who are unclear in their interpretation of
the fishing regulations, so signs designed by the Department are now
posted that explain the current fishing regulations. He stated that
he has also witnessed regular poaching, which he believes occurs
because the regulations are complex and difficult to enforce. He
requested that the Commission simplify the current regulations
regarding the area 650 feet below Keswick Dam to Deschutes Road, to
allow for the taking of one trout under 16 inches long, year round.
He also noted that the Shasta Fly Fishers would be happy to assist
the Department in any way.
Deputy Director Mastrup indicated that the Department would
look into this issue and report back to the Commission.
Bob Strickland indicated that he is discouraged by the lack of
good data in regard to a possible surf perch fishery, and because
the Department has indicated that they cannot allocate any of these
fish to recreational fishing due to an expected shift in effort
after the rock cod closure. He referred to his letter addressed to
the Commission last month regarding the recreational monies that
"subsidize" commercial fishing. He emphasized that if
recreational fishing had this money, they could use it for surveys
to get better data that could support recreational fisheries. He
questioned if he should take his letter to the Legislature to have
the fee schedule adjusted in that arena.
Vice President Chrisman asked Mr. Strickland what he though of
the new CRFs data.
Mr. Strickland responded that he assumed that only the most
heavily fished species would be surveyed, which would not benefit
Commissioner Schuchat stated that though the fees associated
with landing taxes and licenses for commercial fishing are not
consistent, the Department is not giving money to commercial
fishermen. He indicated that he is sympathetic to Mr. Strickland's
concerns and has some ideas on possible solutions, but he cautioned
Mr. Strickland that the Department is not supporting or subsidizing
Eric Larson explained the differences between MRFSS data and
CRFS data. He indicated that the pilot program is currently being
conducted and that CRFS will officially begin on January 1, 2004,
and that Department will provide the Commission with an update at
the November meeting.
Mr. Strickland noted that United Anglers in cooperation with
NRDC has started a program to develop logbooks for small
recreational boats for rock cod and they hope to have a pilot
program by January.
Jim Bassler discussed the final stock assessment for cabezon.
He pointed out that the commercial fishery caught their entire
allocation in just a few months and the recreational fishery did
equally as well, which indicates that there are lots of fish and the
population is doing well. He indicated that a reallocation for
shallow rockfish at this time would not be fair to the commercial
Vice President Chrisman questioned the current status of the
burrowing owl petition.
Deputy Director Mastrup responded that the Department is
currently reviewing the petition. He explained that the extremely
wide distribution of this owl has caused the Department to evaluate
the total threat to this population throughout its entire range. He
indicated that the Department would present a final recommendation
to the Commission at its November Meeting.
Commissioner Schuchat asked about the report on burrowing owls
released by the USFWS.
Deputy Director Mastrup responded that the bulletin received
from USFWS had stated that the burrowing owl had been identified as
a non-threatened animal, due to its wide distribution, reproductive
rate and coping ability.
Executive Director Treanor explained that in order for the
Commission to consider this item at its November meeting, by statute
they must receive the Department's recommendation 30 days prior to
Deputy Director Mastrup clarified that the Department would be
presenting its recommendation to the Commission in November, for
consideration at its December meeting.