Can We Save Our Striped Bass?


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Posted by Marty Seldon on 2010-09-04 13:49:27

Striped Bass – One of California’s Iconic Game fish
Can We Save Them?

Striped Bass has been one of the mainstays of central California sport fishing for at least the past 100 years. In the San Francisco bay area there are many dedicated charter boats that focus most of their year on taking the public out to fish for them in the bays and under the Golden Gate. In the Delta and tributary rivers there are many guides that spend a significant part of their season fishing for stripers. Thousands of recreational fishers target them many months of the year from the Monterey Bay to the beaches of Marin County, the shoreline of San Francisco bay, as well as throughout the Delta and its estuary. Stripers are likely the second most prized game fish in California behind only trout. They are a focus for many fly fishers, and they are an important part of the fishing fabric of California.

Stripers are currently the target of many in this state for purposeful extinction. The battle for water continues to heat up, and the past three years of drought made us all realize how far water users will go to obtain water. Stripers have been identified as predators of ESA listed fish species – salmon, steelhead, delta Smelt. This is no surprise to any of us. That said, we all know they have lived in balance with all these species for more than 100 years, but the dire condition of these listed species is driving our public fish agencies to take extreme actions, and reducing predation is one of them. We have our work cut out for us with the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Game Commission to counter requests to take them off the game fish list, and eliminate any management regulations.

The single most pressing challenge to Striped Bass is the current lawsuit, “Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, et all vs. John McCammans (DFG Director), et all. It is the lawsuit that the NCCFFF has joined as defendant interveners, along with CSBA, CSPA and Striperfest (though not listed as interveners). This is literally, “ The fight for the life of striped bass in California.” It is not important to understand all the claims here, but to know that the goal is to focus attention on other causes of fishery declines rather than diversions of water from the Delta. Coalition for a Sustainable Delta is an organization formed by big water users in the southern San Joaquin valley, and who have an interest in diverted water for agricultural use as well as other needs.

NCCFFF is committed to supporting this suit any way we can, and for a victorious outcome that protects the striped bass fishery well into the future. We have prevailed in the summary judgment request from the Plaintiffs, but it has come at a cost. The next step in the legal process will be taking this suit to trial,with associated costs for providing a defense a challenge to the groups and individuals involved.

It is time for the fishing community to rally around striped bass, and pull together for their benefit.

Striperfest, CSBA and NCCFFF will continue working together to develop funding strategies for the case with appeals to their chapters, clubs and special angler events. It is going to take all of us working together and contributing time, money and effort if we are to save the striped bass fishery as we know it. That is why the NCCFFF Council is asking for your continued support in the form of individual contributions, as well as support from your associated clubs. http://www.nccfff.org

Up coming angler events where you can show your support:
NCCFFF Placerville Fly Fishing Festival, October 2nd, Sportsman’s Outdoor Expo, http://www.nccfff.org
Striperfest on November 6th, Facilities at Sugar Barge Marina, http://www.sugarbarge.com.
Striperfest details to be listed at: http://www.danblanton.com/bulletin.php


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