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Is It The Striped Bass Or The Pumps?

Why does one of our government agencies file suit against farmers to protect the salmon while another government agency stocks predator striped bass

Mar 11, 2010


FPV newsletter clip art V
Volume 2 Issue 19                                                                         March 11, 2010
In This Issue
Striped Bass or the Pumps?
Striped Bass a Major Threat to Salmon
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striped bass

The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta and other water users earlier this week filed for summary judgment in their lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Game related to the management of striped bass, an invasive species that is known to feed upon endangered salmon and delta smelt. The lawsuit was originally filed in late 2008 and is pending in the U.S. District Court in Fresno before Judge Oliver Wanger.
The California Department of Fish and Game's own experts in the case acknowledged that striped bass predation accounts for the loss of a significant number of protected, native salmon. The Department's experts estimate the take could be as high as 25-50 percent of both the endangered Sacramento River winter-run and the threatened Central Valley spring-run Chinook salmon. The experts also admitted under oath that:
  Striped bass sport-fishing regulations, by protecting the Delta's striped bass population, increase striped bass predation on the two federally protected salmon species, and
Striped bass predation has been increasingly identified as a major reason behind salmon and delta smelt fishery declines, but state regulators have repeatedly failed to address the problem. Striped bass are an invasive species that were planted in California as a sport fish in the late 19th century. The Department of Fish and Game has continued to protect the voracious predators at the expense of salmon, delta and longfin smelt, and other endangered species through the imposition of size (18 inches minimum) and bag (2 per day) limits. At one point CDFG actually stocked the Delta with millions of striped bass in an attempt to further increase their population. While Fish and Game has taken these actions to protect and expand striped bass in the delta, salmon populations have steadily declined leading to devastating government imposed water pumping restrictions for residents, farms and businesses and the closure of the last two commercial salmon fishing seasons. Hundreds of thousands of acres of productive farmland has been fallowed since 2008, resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. Commercial salmon fishermen are facing another tough year that has already resulted in the loss of $1.4 billion dollars and 23,000 lost jobs.
The Coalition for a Sustainable Delta is an ad hoc group of water users who depend on the delta for a large portion of their water supplies. The Coalition is dedicated to protecting the delta and is committed to promoting a strategy to ensure its sustainability.


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