During this legislative session, one of CalTrout’s highest priorities has been SB 1148, a bill that would improve Department of Fish and Game staffing and resources for California’s inland trout fisheries.
The legislation was recently finalized, votes are coming soon, and it could be on the Governor’s desk as early as next week.
Unfortunately, we’ve witnessed the spread of some misinformation about SB 1148, and we wanted to clarify the benefits of SB 1148 especially in relation to AB 7 (CalTrout-supported legislation passed in 2005). AB 7 originally set funding for the Department of Fish & Game’s Heritage & Wild Trout program and also maintained funding for hatchery production where appropriate.
Unfortunately, AB 7’s goals have not been met, so SB 1148 was designed to reaffirm and ensure California’s wild trout and hatcheries receive the resources they need to provide robust populations and sustainable recreational fisheries to California’s anglers.
1) SB 1148 would reaffirm AB7’s establishment of the Heritage and Wild Trout program and ensure the hiring of the seven Heritage and Wild Trout positions promised by AB 7.
Originally, AB 7 required the hiring of seven new Heritage and Wild Trout positions, yet within four years of passing these new positions were eliminated. The existing legislative intent of AB 7 is clearly not enough to ensure the sustainability of the Heritage and Wild Trout program. SB 1148 fixes that by requiring seven new permanent positions for the Heritage and Wild Trout Program.
2) SB 1148 promotes comprehensive and scientifically driven management of California’s inland trout waters.
SB 1148 empowers DFG to a more scientifically robust and defensible trout management policy. Recent lawsuits filed against the DF&G regarding hatchery fish and stocking practice underscore the need to infuse California’s trout management with more robust science and better information about fish genetics and population dynamics. This will allow for the management of our trout waters to be driven by fish biologists and not misguided lawsuits.
3) SB 1148 provides a legislative priority for the current DFG administration
DFG Director Chuck Bonham has mentioned his commitment to the Heritage and Wild Trout program and supporting inland fisheries. In his previous job as state director of Trout Unlimited he worked to improve California’s cold water fisheries. SB 1148 provides Director Bonham and his administration with reinvigorated legislative support to ensure staffing and resources to better manage the states trout fisheries.
4) SB 1148 requires angler satisfaction as important criteria for the management of inland trout waters.
The number of fishing licenses sold in California has remained flat over the past decade. SB 1148 places angler satisfaction into the equation as priority criteria for determining the way California’s inland trout waters are managed.
5) SB 1148 secures funding for hatcheries and capital improvements to meet production goals.
CalTrout recognizes that inland trout hatcheries play an important role in recreational fishing where fishing pressure is high and habitat is limited to support wild trout.
AB 7 established the Hatcheries and Inland Fisheries Fund (HIFF) which is funded by 33 1/3% of fishing license sales. Typically, this fund is $20-25 million annually, and hatcheries receive over 85% of HIFF funds. SB 1148 will not change this.
What SB 1148 does do is empower DF&G to explore creative ways to meet currently unmet production goals. For example, in some cases, private hatcheries can help meet production goals at a reasonable cost. SB 1148 also calls for $1 million to be provided for capital improvements at trout hatcheries to help meet production goals.
6) SB 1148 tells DF&G to stock fish in areas where they are most needed.
SB 1148 focuses on providing anglers with the best fishing possible, especially in high use areas. In fact, stocking of hatchery fish in pressurized put-and-take fisheries will be improved under SB 1148. Where stocking is warranted the Department will have resources to meet angler demand and improve angler satisfaction.
SB 1148 maintains the target goal of 2.75 lbs. of stocked fish per licensed angler.
7) SB 1148 is better because it doesn’t harm the genetic integrity of existing wild trout populations.
California’s native trout populations need protection too, and SB 1148 helps us protect them. It proposes the stocking of triploid (sterile) fish wherever possible. It provides exceptions to triploid stocking where hatchery fish are geographically isolated from native fish, for brood stock waters, and for the native trout recovery efforts.
Currently, both native trout and hatchery operations get short shrift in Sacramento, and California’s anglers need to stand together to ensure adequate resources are directed to improving the management of hatchery trout and wild trout.
CT’s Mission will always be to protect and restore wild trout. We also live in the state with a huge recreational fishing contingent supported by an extensive hatchery program. We recognize the importance of trout fishing to the recreation economy of California’s rural areas.
Our challenge is to find the right balance that enables us to achieve our mission and enhance our fishing opportunities for all anglers. Negotiations through the finalization of this legislation were challenging. But we’re confident that the outcome is very good for California’s inland trout fisheries.
Sounds like Cal-Trout is trying to get privities and control our hatcheries to me.
What language in the above article lead to that deduction? I deduce from the above story that Cal-Trout is trying to 1) give AB 7 the teeth it originally should have had, and 2) allow the more responsible elements within CFG to be more effective in delivering hatchery fish where they are needed, and keep the hatchery fish out of areas they impact native or wild fish.
CalTrout has no interest in privatizing California’s hatchery system. The state’s hatcheries haven’t met the production goals set in AB 7 (which are affirmed in SB 1148), and SB 1148 simply makes it possible for the state to look to private hatcheries to make up shortfalls.
Great. Now a bunch of environmental extremists who could give a damn about the common man getting away and enjoying a little fishing are going to be dictating where fish get planted. I could care less about hatchery production goals not being met. I catch plenty of stockers in the lakes and streams I like to fish. My concern is still being able to catch fish in my favorite lakes and streams without some tree hugger or fly fishing snob standing in my way. When I here you say “delivering hatchery fish where they are needed, and keep the hatchery fish out of areas they impact native or wild fish” I’m hearing you tell me to get out of my favorite creeks and go where we tell you to go. To hell with you!
We’ve responded to all civil inquiries about SB 1148 and feel that most of your concerns are groundless, but we won’t respond to comments involving swearing and threatening language.
In the future, we’ll simply delete any new comments that take an uncivil tone.
So MOST of my concerns are groundless. Which ones aren’t groundless?
Hes mad because caltrout is removing gamefish that people like to catch and closing creeks to fishing. Ultimatly people like biodiversity and removing all non native fish from certain areas/closing them is where the problem is
Everybody in the town of Mammoth, and June lake, do NOT want this passed. The Eastern Sierras do not need or want this bill to be passed.DFG is doing a good job already.
The Owens River has good trout fishing and from what I understand never had native trout. What effects will Cal-Trout have on our fishing conditions?
With the passage of AB7 we made some good in roads to fund hatcheries and inland fisheries with the establishment of the fund for such the HIFF(you figure it out). Cal Trout was instrumental in the passage of AB7but certainly not the author…that was David Coghill who is very upset with Cal Trout and feels that AB7 has been gutted . He feels this bill completely shifts the priority of the HIFF, leaves open ended the amount that can now be spent on Heritage and Wild Trout programs to the detriment of hatchery funding, puts in place new unattainable requirements on planting, limits hatchery infrastructure spending to $1,000,000 annually , that’s less than DFG has been spending, and puts a moratorium on DFG’s ability to purchase trout from private hatcheries if need be to ,meet AB7 production goals until January 1, 2014. Odds are they will never meet the 2.75lbs./license goal established in AB7.
Misinformation or misunderstanding with the passing of 1148 money is going away from what could have been spent on hatcheries. It does not make for anymore monies but hopes that this will get DFG of it’s butt and start spending money for fish instead of dithering on how to do it. Folks in the put and take end of things are going to be unhappy for sure.
We will see where all this goes and who makes friends and who makes foes. The bottom line here is that there is not enough money funding these efforts and within the DFG management nor intent to really implement them. So prove me wrong Curtis!… the ball is in your court playing a game that most of us would rather not. This is me scraping my Cal Trout sticker off my truck to save my tires…so much for making friends for fly fishing.
Bad time to be a brown trout me thinks!
We agree with your statement that there is not enough money to go around. That is the fundamental problem that AB 7 and now SB 1148 work to address. Trout of any kind are low on the priority list in Sacramento and we need to stand together to get the resources promised for the Hatcheries and Inland Fisheries Fund (HIFF).
We understand Sen Cogdill’s concerns. We were remiss in reaching out to him sooner in this process but did work with him during the last several months of the legislative session. We agreed on many changes—removing independent hatchery science panel and removing the requirement to mark all hatchery fish to name a few (measures that originally came from others not us). But in the end no parties got all they wanted. Remember, the bill’s author, the DFG employees union, DFG administration, and many others all had interests at stake here and we all had to come up with something that works.
We also agree that misinformation and misinterpretation are a big parts of this issue right now. An example is the requirement in SB 1148 to dedicate $1 million of surplus HIFF funds to hatchery infrastructure. For several years in a row, DFG hatchery program has submitted official requests for appropriations from a small HIFF surplus to support and improve state hatchery facilities (capital investments). These requests have been rejected by the legislature.
Thus, only modest amounts of funds have made their way to the hatcheries for capital improvements, and this has led to continued decline in facility quality and in-house fish production capacity.
SB 1148 is an attempt, in part, to rebuild the Legislature’s and stakeholder’s support for the hatchery system, thus a modest but important infusion of $1 million direct appropriation to upgrade those hatchery facilities in most need of some improvements. This direct appropriation would not have occurred if it was not paired to the trout policy in SB 1148, and it represents the only appropriation for capital improvements this budget year.
One of our core interests in AB7 and SB 1148 is the funding for the Wild Trout Program. The language in AB 7 says $2 M per year. In SB 1148 we say at least $2M as a way to help ensure this. Two million dollars is typically less than 10% of the current HIFF allocation. The remaining 90% still goes to hatcheries.
To be clear, our intent is to reinvigorate AB 7 for a new DFG administration. SB 1148 gives the new DFG director a mandate to adequately fund and prioritize trout management and production.
In the end, legislation can only take us so far. We need to work together to ensure adequate funding for DFG trout programs through the very complex budgeting process.
Curtis Knight, CalTrout
If your intentions were honorable and all you wanted to do was improve AB7 to better serve all anglers, why didn’t you make sure hatchery supporters we’re included in the process from the beginning?
Why did you change the priority of the HIFF to the HWTP?
Everything CalTrout wanted in the bill is mandatory, by law. Most of the language pertaining to hatchery operations (planting goals, purchase of private trout, infrastructure at the hatcheries (with the exception of the one time million dollars to be spread among all the states hatcheries, again a drop in the bucket) are permissive, meaning allowed but not required. This was a demand of DFG.
Why would anyone familiar with DFG’s abysmal historical operation of the hatcheries believe anything will get better unless they are forced by law to make it better? The only thing that’s mandatory regarding hatcheries is the moratorium prohibiting the purchase of private trout until 1/1/2015, that’s NOT an improvement! In fact, I worry about what happens between now and Jan. of 2015, if disease or some other catastrophe puts a hatchery out of commission. It’s happened before, but in the past the department has always had the ability to contract for private eggs and trout, and continue to raise and plant. I see no good coming from this as structured.
When did hatchery operations become the ultimate goal of DF&G?
You act as if the HIFF fund was solely provided by anglers fishing for stocked trout. The truth is that those who fish for wild trout buy licenses too, and yet we haven’t seen very much return to wild trout operations.
Effectively, those who don’t catch hatchery trout have been subsidizing those who do, and it’s only fair that wild trout programs should get $2 million of the $20+ million regularly poured into hatchery operations. In fact, wild trout should probably get more — wild trout don’t cost sportsman the $1+ per pound that hatchery fish do.
If CalTrout was really after hatchery programs, they could have done a lot more damage than SB 1148, which gives money to hatcheries and continues the ridiculous hatchery production goals.
triploids are more damaging to wild trout fisheries than regular planters. triploids will out compete the wild trout and therefore starve the wilds. I hope nothing happens to Salt Springs Res in Amador county. It is the best wild trout fishery in the state!! I bet there are state record sized trout of Rainbow and Brown trout in there and maybe even a record Cutthroat!!!! I’ve seen many trout of all 3 get caught out there that were 10 to 20 pounds!!!
No more Brown Trout plants in Cali? WOW This is simply wrong! I’ve found no evidence that Browns
cross breed with any other trout except for Brooks. So why stop these plants? Can anyone here address this…