Meeting remotely for its December session, the California Fish and Game Commission acted on several issues affecting California’s natural resources. The following are just a few items of interest from the recent two-day meeting.
The Commission voted unanimously to again extend two emergency regulations that were adopted in December 2020 to authorize conditional take of western Joshua tree under certain circumstances while protected under the California Endangered Species Act as a candidate species. The extensions are for an additional 90 days.
The Commission voted unanimously to extend the locations and expand low-flow closure periods for streams along the north and central coast. The changes will prohibit fishing in specific streams, due to drought conditions, to protect native fish populations through April 30 when flows fall below a certain level.
The Commission publicly acknowledged Gary Bechtel, Bob and Marie Gallo, Claude Louis Grillo, Richard Radigonda and Steve Thompson as this year’s inductees into the California Waterfowlers Hall of Fame. These individuals were recognized for their significant contributions to enhancing waterfowl and their habitats in California.
The Commission voted unanimously to take emergency action to amend regulations related to sub-bag limits for vermilion rockfish, quillback rockfish and copper rockfish to ensure consistency with federal regulations as recommended by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The new regulations will establish a new one-fish sub-limit for both copper and quillback rockfish, within the 10-fish aggregate limit for rockfish, cabezon and greenlings, and the existing sub-limit for vermilion rockfish will be reduced from five to four fish. The changes are expected to take effect in early January.
The Commission authorized publication of notice of its intent to amend regulations related to recreational take and gear restrictions for clam, sand crab and shrimp; this would continue restrictions currently in place through an emergency regulation. The Commission also authorized notice of intent to adopt regulations related to the commercial harvest of kelp and other aquatic plants.
The Commission voted unanimously to adopt and amend regulations related to experimental fishing permits. The new regulations will establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for experimental marine fishing activities.
The Commission received the annual update on marine protected areas, including plans for the first decadal management review of the statewide network in early 2023.
The full commission – President Peter Silva, Vice President Samantha Murray, and commissioners Erika Zavaleta, Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Erik Sklar – was present on Dec. 15. Vice President Murray and commissioners Zavaleta and Sklar were present on Dec. 16.
The agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available at www.fgc.ca.gov. The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for Feb. 16-17, 2022.