Recently, some have suggested that the CalTrout-supported SB 1148 legislation would damage the Sierra’s tourism and recreation economy. It’s not true, and we wanted to set the record straight in an Op-Ed piece to several Sierra newspapers.
By Curtis Knight, Conservation Director, CalTrout
In a recently published article, it was suggested that CalTrout-supported SB1148 legislation would defund hatcheries, damage the Eastern Sierra’s tourism economy, and negate former Senator Cogdill’s AB 7 legislation.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
CalTrout worked closely with then-Senator Cogdill to pass AB 7 in 2005. That legislation set current hatchery production goals and funded the Heritage and Wild Trout program. Unfortunately the hatchery production goals set forth in AB 7 are not being met and the Heritage and Wild Trout program is still underfunded.
By contrast, SB 1148 supports the hatchery goals set by AB 7 (it looks for a more efficient means of meeting them, including the use of private hatcheries), adequately staffs and funds the Heritage and Wild Trout program, and proposes comprehensive management practices for all trout populations.
Here are some key benefits of SB 1148:
1) SB 1148 does not diminish funding for hatcheries.
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, private hatcheries can help meet production goals at a reasonable cost.
2) 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.
3) 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 put-and-take fisheries will be improved with SB 1148. Where stocking is warranted the Department will have resources to meet angler demand and improve angler satisfaction.
4) 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 — while it looks for better efficiency in the hatchery production process. It proposes the stocking of triploid (sterile) fish wherever possible; triploids grow faster and provide the kind of angling experience sought by the majority of anglers.
SB 1148 is good for fisheries and tourism.
In contrast to what has been alleged, SB 1148 continues to evolve and no longer includes an Independent Hatchery Review Committee, a requirement to mark all hatchery fish, and several other stipulations mentioned in last week’s story.
Simply put, trout 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.
SB 1148 is important because it reminds Sacramento of the promises made in AB 7 and reaffirms them; it preserves the percentage of license fees going to hatchery operations and also funds the Heritage and Wild Trout program.
We recognize the importance of trout fishing to the economy of the Eastern Sierra and believe SB 1148 will result in better fishing for all anglers.
CalTrout supported AB7 in 2007 in order to get funding for the wild trout . You are obviously getting a lot of bad publicity, and if you were more honest in your intent you would not be making concessions. Bad publicity is NOT what CalTrout needs right now. You should be focusing on getting more children into fishing and using the deep-pockets that just dole out money brainlessly thinking that everything you do is just as neat as sliced bread.
Too many organizations use the “good-intent” wording for the wrong reasons, and the elitist fly fishermen are not going to like it when the majority of the CA anglers start bringing out stringers of wild trout from the backcountry, after all the do-good people kill the hatchery system. Think about it. I’m a fly fisher, and I certainly don’t want that to happen.
In 2005, AB 7 would never have made it through the legislature without CalTrout’s support, which is why then-Senator Cogdill approached us.
The hatchery goals and wild trout funding in AB 7 have not been realized, which is why SB 1148 reaffirms both. We believe wild trout fisheries and hatchery-supported fisheries have a place, and it’s important to note — despite a lot of alarmist misinformation to the contrary — the SB 1148 doesn’t de-fund hatcheries. In fact, it says DF&G should look for ways to hatcheries to meet their goals, including the use of private hatcheries.
It may result in fewer trout stocked where usage patterns and habitat would better support native trout, but would also result in more trout being stocked in high-use areas.
It also institutes the 7 Heritage and Wild Trout positions called for in AB 7, and mandates that DFG create (or update) an overall strategic plan for the state’s trout every five years. We think that’s good for everyone.
Finally, we’re happy to have you comment on our site and to respond to those comments, but we ask that you maintain a civil tone. We don’t apply words like “brainlessly” and “elitist” in our posts, and hope that you won’t either.
Thank you for your input on my post. In reading the bill as proposed, and without the changes of last week and all the negotiations of yesterday, it’s hard for me to understand that you really care what happens to the hatchery system in the state. You opposed the original bill in 2005 when introduced as it dedicated 33 1/3 of the license fees, and bottled up the bill in committee effectively killing it, all the while professing that you did NOT oppose hatcheries but obviously concerned that the bill would mean less money for your programs (wild trout). The second year Mr. Cogdill carried the bill and he went to you to write a bill protecting programs for all anglers, then you agreed. You asked for $2 million of the roughly $15 million originally placed in the HIFF created by AB7. License fees were $32 then. The bill was created as the Hatchery and Inland Fisheries Fund (HIFF) as the name indicates. SB 1148 in essence represents CalTrout’s reneging on your original agreement thus raiding the HIFF, and hatcheries will no longer have precedence, and that’s has been your priority. You think you have won the battle should the Governor sign the bill. You are sadly wrong. PETA won’t be happy until all fishing is killed, just wait until they bite into CalTrout, Trout Unlimited and every other environmental structured fishing organization. You have not even seen the last of this.
Thanks for your comments and its clear you know the history of the bill. In short AB 7 and hatchery production goals and funding for Wild Trout are not being met. Thus SB 1148. We need fresh legislation that reinvigorates AB 7 and provides this DFG administration with something they can call their own.
SB 1148 does not tip the careful balance of AB 7. We are asking for $2 million for Wild Trout. Same as AB7. We still don’t even get that. The HIFF this year is $23 million. We believe 10% is not too much for the Wild Trout program.
Finally, SB 1148 pushes DFG to meet hatchery production goals through investment in infrastructure. It also says if you can’t do it internally, then to make up the difference contract out to private hatcheries.
On the whole we believe SB 1148 is exactly what California’s inland trout fisheries need right now.
A reading of the bill says nothing of the sort. If anyone has been “underhanded” (Cogdill accused CalTrout of that), it’s Cogdill himself, who misrepresented waht SB 1148 actually does.
Besides, are those of us who fish for wild fish supposed to occupy the back seat forever, watching the hatchery money (HIFF) increase while wild fish don’t even get 10% of the fund (money guaranteed by AB 7)? While the wild trout staff positions promised by AB 7 disappear?
It’s too bad Cogdill couldn’t admit to himself that AB 7 wasn’t working, and also that he repeatedly pretended that AB 7 was simply a hatcheries bill.
Then he used all the “elitest” labels and pretty clearly lied about SB 1148’s intent. All the tired PETA talk notwithstanding, I guess hatchery supporters won’t be happy until the last wild fish population in California is destoryed while all the money gets poured into creating canned trout in hatcheries.
It’s time to restore some balance in California’s fisheries, and it’s definitely time to start ignoring what Cogdill has to say in these matters, at least given his willingness to mislead.
Being Born and Raised here in the hills of California , it makes me sick to hear all this B.S. about the “Wild Trout” of California. I am Not a “Pureist” , “Elitist” nor “City Bred Scientist” that thinks He/She knows what is best for the “Poor Little Fishies” of the world. I am just a 58 year old man that has watched the wonderfull fishing he grew up with be destroyed by all of the “Burecratic Postureing and Money Grubbing” that goes on in Sacramento .
I am sick and tired of all of you “Special Interest Groups” screwing up everything !
I pay for trout to be raised and stocked in the “Inland Waterways” of this state but All of You Selfcentered Egomaniacs are FlatOut Destroying this States Fishing ! There is no more good fishing left in the rivers around here …You Have Destroyed It !
The Mokelumne River by Jackson Used to be “Trophy Trout Fishing” for both Browns and Rainbows; But because of Your Poor “Wild Trout” it was Destroyed so they could Re-establish thier populations naturally.
B.S.! If you catch anything at all out of the Mokelumne any more it will be a “Squaw Fish’ or a “Sucker”… Both fish as worthless as all of this B.S. You are Force Feeding to us.
Most of the fishermen in this country didn’t mind catching 2 or 3 “Naturalized Browns” or “Rainbows” from 1 1/2 lb to 6 lb. out of the rivers but “that is not the way it should be” they should be “WILD Fish”
How Long do you think those wonderfull fish of yours are going to last after they finish letting the economy go down the toilet ?
I can guarantee one thing……it takes alot of those little 5″-6″ “Wild Trout” to feed a family & mine won’t be going Hungry !