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DFG's Koch, Big Ag's best friend?

Department of Fish and Game Director Don Koch Statement on the California Fish and Game Commission's Longfin Smelt Decision

November 14, 2008 --  "Today's decision by the California Fish and Game Commission to protect longfin smelt affords me an authority that I will approach judiciously. While this process, triggered by the regulation, could lead to some water restrictions to protect fish, dramatic cuts from this action will not occur. The Commission’s action will allow the state and federal water projects to be able to continue operating, providing water to millions of California citizens. The Department of Fish and Game has worked diligently to craft a 90-day regulation that provides for protection of longfin smelt while recognizing the importance of various agencies’ responsibilities to protect both humans and fish."


Longfin smelt are a candidate species for listing as either threatened or endangered under the state endangered species act. The “take” or killing of that species is prohibited by law. Today’s action by the California Fish and Game Commission was to adopt a short-term regulation that would be in place for only the next 90 days during which water deliveries, or pumping, can continue. These deliveries may be subject to limits where the scientists and policy makers believe that actions to protect the fish are needed.

The action by the Commission was to adopt a 2084 regulation – named for the section of the Fish and Game Code that allows the Commission to set the terms and conditions under which “take” can occur during the 12-month process during which the Commission is considering listing a species as threatened or endangered. The 2084 regulation calls for close monitoring of species before any actions would even be triggered. It also regulates other activities such as sand and gravel mining, dredging and local agricultural diversions that also take the tiny fish.

Contact: Jordan Traverso, Deputy Director of Communications,