Amended AB 1253 now posted on Assembly website, no mention of striped bass: Bill would study predation and damage done to fisheries by pumping process
May 7, 2009 -- The assembly website has finally posted the amended version of AB 1253, (Fuller), previously known as the "Striper Extermination Bill." The bill now asks for an independent scientific panel to review studies on the, "effects of predation on species listed as threatened or endangered under the state or federal endangered species acts, and to determine whether predator species are adversely affecting, at a population level, native salmonids or other indigenous pelagic species in the Delta"
The bill states the panel to shall also include, "a review of existing studies on fish salvage methods and other mitigation protocols at state and federal pumping facilities and recommendations for changes in methodologies
CSPA opposed the original bill since it arbitrarily removed all sportfishing regulations for the striped bass and unfairly labeled it as a major predator of delta smelt and chinook salmon smolts. A CSPA letter writing campaign and behind the scene contact with assembly committee members combined with several grass roots groups efforts at petitions, a rally at the Capital steps and stuffing the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee room during the bill's review resulted in the original bill getting dropped and something resembling the current bill put in its place. That bill called for a review of the literature on, "non-native" species predation but was amended at the hearing to its current form to be a general study of predation on threatened and endangered species.
Dr. David Ostrach, U.C. Davis, a member of the Pelagic Organism Decline (POD) team testified in opposition to the original AB 1253 bill at the assembly hearing. On numerous occasions Dr. Ostrach has stated that the scientific literature on predation reveals that any predation taking place does not affect species population levels. In addition, CSPA's independent review of the current literature verifies Dr. Ostrach's claims.
However, the second section of the bill, the review of damage done at the pumping process including lack of adequate screening, poor salvage records and inadequate mitigation has been documented in a number of reports. The bill asks for a review of those studies and if found deficient, recommendations for changes in methodologies to improve survival.
While the review on predation is viewed as a waste of time and money by most, the review of the damage done by the pumping process, the outcome of which will expose the extent of the damage done to the delta fisheries and the current lack of sufficient mitigation is sufficient reason for CSPA to endorse the bill and seek its passage.