Rudy Buriani expressed his opposition to closure signs recently posted in the Sutter Bypass Wildlife Area which resulted in loss of hunter opportunity. He requested that the signs be taken down until a time when the public may participate in the decision making process.
Ben Taylor requested emergency action to allow only catch and release fishing in the Smith River during the early Chinook run in an effort to stop snagging. He requested that a public hearing be scheduled in the near future to discuss possible solutions.
Charles Bucaria provided the Commission with a handout. He supported Mr. Taylor’s request for emergency action. He added that restricting gear type may be another possible solution to the snagging problem.
President Flores responded that he would be willing to hold a public hearing to discuss this issue and directed staff to schedule it in conjunction with the in-river allocation hearings to be held in Crescent City and Weaverville.
Eric Mills expressed his disappointment that the Department had no plans or time line for the eradication of African clawed frogs in Golden Gate Park. He added that these frogs were a direct threat to the red-legged frogs and 35 other animal species which may be affected by the fungus which they carry. He also discussed the lack of enforcement in the live animal food markets which sell species which are illegal to import into California. He requested that both of the items be agendized.
Deputy Director Mastrup responded that the Department is working with the City of San Francisco on an eradication plan for the African clawed frogs in Golden Gate Park and he provided the Commission with a memo outlining the plan.
Michelle Tsai provided the Commission with a handout and discussed the live animal markets in California. She requested that the Commission vote to ban the importation live animals to food markets in California. She added that it should not be considered a cultural issue.
Vice President Hattoy responded that there are already laws to prevent animal cruelty as well as to stop the importation of non-native animals into the State.
Deputy Director Mastrup added that the authority to regulate these live animal markets and the pet trade lies not only with the Commission, but with the Legislature and local enforcement.
Dan McCafferty expressed his concern with the lack of data in the sculpin fishery in southern California. He requested a 12 month season for sculpin with increased trip limits as well as removing all trawls from nearshore areas in southern California.
Jim Martin expressed his concern with the Blue Ribbon Task Force (BRTF) reports as they may not contain all relevant information. He requested that the Commission direct the BRTF to forward all information in-tact, for its consideration.
Virginia Handley supported Ms. Tsai’s request. She also requested that the issue be agendized with a status report from the Department.
Vice President Hattoy indicated that he would support the request for a Department report and possible Commission action.
Chief Foley explained that one of the difficulties enforcing current regulations is that it is extremely difficult to get the violations from the live animal markets heard in court. She added that the current focus is on those species which may threaten native wildlife.
Commissioner Gustafson indicated that a report from the Department including a brief history and overview of current laws, regulations and authority would be helpful in making a decision on whether to move forward with further regulations.
Deputy Director Mastrup responded that he would provide an update at the Commission’s March 2-3, 2006 meeting, on a date when the Department would present the requested report on the live animal trade.
Paul Weakland commented that there is confusion regarding what was included in the Abalone Fishery Management Plan which the Commission recently adopted. He asked for a status report on the regulation of the turban snail and limpet fisheries.
Steve Mathieu thanked the Commission for its support in successfully securing funding for AGP Video for 2006.
Chris Voss reported that the stakeholders continue to work on the proposal for a limited abalone fishery at San Miguel Island, which they will soon present to the Department for further cooperative development.
Commissioner Rogers emphasized the importance of keeping Commissioner Gustafson and him updated on marine issues such as this via the Commission office.