At its February meeting, 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 meeting.
The Commission readopted emergency regulation prohibiting the use of hydraulic pumps to take clams, sand crabs and shrimp.
The Commission adopted regulations to protect bull kelp that include a prohibition of commercial harvest in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, an annual limit of 8,000 lbs. in Humboldt and Del Norte counties and other measures to protect kelp.
Also, Commission members adopted regulations to protect California’s iconic grunion populations by implementing a bag limit of 30 fish per person and extending the closed season by additional month to include the month of June.
They voted unanimously to list San Bernardino kangaroo rat as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) and continued the decision to determine whether or not listing southern California steelhead as endangered under CESA may be warranted.
Commission members continued the decision to ratify findings for the decision to list northern California summer steelhead as endangered under CSEA and determined that listing Lime Ridge eriastrum as endangered under CESA may be warranted. This commences a one-year status review to be completed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Lime Ridge eriastrum is protected as a candidate species during that time.
The Commission voted unanimously to list Shasta snow-wreath as threatened under CESA.
Also, commissioners adopted amendments to big game regulations to include preference points reinstatement and tag refunds due to public land closures. More information on how to apply for reinstatement will be available at CDFW’s licensing website.
The Commission received a petition from the Humane Society of the United States to eliminate open hunting season for black bear until CDFW updates its bear management plan including a census of the California black bear population. The Commission referred the petition to CDFW.
The full commission was present. At the meeting, Commissioner Samantha Murray was elected as president, replacing outgoing President Peter Silva who stepped down from the Commission effective Friday, Feb. 18. The Commission elected Commissioner Erika Zavaleta as vice president, a position previously held by new President Murray. The Commission assigned chairs for its three committees. Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was selected to continue as chair of the Tribal Committee. President Murray and Commissioner Erik Sklar will continue as co-chairs of the Marine Resources Committee. Vice President Erika Zavaleta will continue to serve on the Wildlife Resources Committee as chair.
The agenda for this meeting along with supporting information is available on the Commission website. An archived audio file will also be available. The next meeting of the full Commission is scheduled for April 20-21, 2022.
The California Fish and Game Commission was the first wildlife conservation agency in the United States, predating even the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. There is often confusion about the distinction between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Commission. In the most basic terms, CDFW implements and enforces the regulations set by the Commission, as well as provides biological data and expertise to inform the Commission’s decision-making process.