In a big victory for fishing groups who were mobilizing for a huge turn out of anglers at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting in Folsom on Thursday, August 25, Stewart Resnick’s Coalition for a Sustainable Delta Astroturf group and their water contractor allies have withdrawn their petition to increase bag limits and reduce size limits for striped bass and black bass in the San Francisco Bay-Delta.
According to a notice on the meeting posted on the Commission’s website today, “Please note: The petition number 2016-011 (striped and black bass) has been withdrawn by the petitioners. As a result the Commission will not be taking action on this petition.” (http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2016/Aug/08242516agd.pdf)
“There is no need to go to the California Fish and Game Commission meeting set for this Thursday,” confirmed John Beuttler of the Allied Fishing Groups. “The Commission has announced that the Coalition for Sustainable Delta, California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau Federation, Kern County Water Agency, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Northern California Water Association, San Joaquin Tributaries Authority, Southern California Water Committee, State Water Contractors, and Western Growers have withdrawn their petition number 2016-011 (striped and black bass regulations).”
Michael Boccadoro, the spokesman for the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, told the Sacramento Bee that supporters of the water contractors were “frustrated that they would be allowed only 10 minutes” to present their case before the Commission Thursday. However, it is more likely that they withdrew the petition because of the intense opposition to it by anglers and prominent scientists including Dr. David Ostrach and Dr. Peter Moyle – and the likelihood that the Commission would reject the petition.
The Commission on Wednesday will be voting on an item of great interest to anglers: Item 10. Master Plan for Marine Protected areas:
“The Commission will (A) Discuss and approve text related to traditional ecological knowledge (B) Adopt proposed final Master Plan for Marine Protected Areas and the Marine Life Protection Program pursuant to the Marine Life Protection Act (Pursuant to Section 2850, et seq., Fish and Game Code).”
I have five points to make before the Commission in my testimony regarding the Master Plan:
First I strongly support the inclusion of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in the Master Plan. This is long overdue.
Second, the proposal breaks the original promise given to anglers by officials that regional reviews of the alleged “marine protected areas” created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative would be conducted every five years. The new plan changes the regional reviews to once every ten years, a move that anglers and public trust advocates, including myself, strongly oppose.
Third, the plan does nothing to make the faux “marine protected areas” created under the MLPA Initiative into real ones. The alleged “Yosemites of the Sea” created under the privately funded initiative fail to protect the ocean from fracking, oil spills, offshore oil drilling, pollution, military testing and all human impacts other than sustainable fishing and gatheringe.
Fourth, the plan accepts as legitimate the tainted “marine protected areas” created under the helm of a Big Oil lobbyist and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest. Catherine Reheis-Boyd, the president of the Western States Petroleum Association and relentless advocate for the expansion of fracking and offshore oil drilling and the evisceration of California’s environmental laws, chaired the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force for the Southern California Coast at the same time that the region’s marine waters were being fracked by her industry. She also served on the task forces for the Central Coast, North Central Coast and North Coast. (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/brtf_bios_sc.asp)
Fifth, the proposal fails to challenge the terminally flawed “science” employed to create MPAs under the “leadership” of a convicted embezzler. A federal judge in San Francisco on May 20, 2014 sentenced Ron LeValley of Mad River Biologists, the former co-chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative Science Advisory Team for the North Coast, to serve 10 months in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to embezzle over $852,000 in federal funds from the Yurok Tribe.
In spite of numerous complaints, the Fish and Game Commission refused to review the legitimacy of the “science”used to create the “marine protected areas” developed under his helm at the same time that he was engaged in a conspiracy to embezzle money from the Yurok Tribe.”(http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/5/22/1301281/-Former-MLPA-Initiative-Science-Co-Chair-Gets-10-Month-Sentence)
I urge the Commission to finally address these unresolved issues posed by the “marine protected areas” created under the privately funded MLPA Initiative.