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
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
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
Commissioner Schuchat expressed concerns about wanton waste of
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
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
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
Bob Ingles commented that he believes an adjustment of the
rockfish OY is needed since fishing is taking place in deeper water
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.