On February 21, 2020, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) voted 4-0 to adopt a new Delta fisheries management policy and a revised Striped bass policy supported by Commission staff and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department). The Delta fisheries management policy is notable because:

  • it provides that the Commission and Department will rely on “credible science” (a term defined in the Fish and Game Code) to develop strategies and recommendations to manage fisheries;
  • it includes the express recognition that listed species have highest priority;
  • it provides that the Department will manage fisheries in a manner that maximizes sustainable recreational angling opportunities while avoiding or minimizing adverse effects to native species, listed species, and species of greatest conservation need; and
  • it provides that the Commission and Department will support scientific research on habitat or species improvement projects and investments.

The revised Striped bass policy is notable because:

  • it provides that the Department will strive to maintain a healthy, self-sustaining striped bass population in support of a robust recreational fishery;
  • it eliminates the policy of supporting artificial propagation;
  • it eliminates the near-term population goal of 1.1 million adults and the long-term goal of 3 million adults; and
  • it reaffirms that actions to increase striped bass abundance are consistent with the Department’s public trust responsibilities, including those related to listed species.

The Commission took action to adopt these two policies after extensive public deliberation in both the Commission’s Wildlife Resources Committee and the full Commission.

The business, farming, and water user communities supported adoption of both Policies. The angling community opposed the changes to the Striped Bass Policy, specifically, the elimination of a numeric population target.