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CSPA Advisory regarding AB 1253, the bill to deregulate the Striped Bass as a California Game Fish

March 6, 2009 -- CSPA is aware of the proposed legislation and will take the steps necessary, with your help, to have this bill defeated. However, to be effective, these efforts should be well planned, and coordinated. CSPA has been dealing successfully with issues like this for over 20 years and has numerous avenues to pursue, some public and some private.

AB 1253 is only the latest ploy by water agencies to divert attention from the major cause of fisheries collapse; the massive, unsustainable export of water from the Delta.  Assemblywomen Fuller’s red herring is poorly written, internally inconsistent and ignores both history and science.  For example:

1. Striped bass have coexisted with Delta smelt (and salmon) for more than 130 years.
2. The decline of striped bass closely parallels the declines of salmon and pelagic species like Delta smelt.
3. Federal law (CVPIA) calls for the protection, indeed, the doubling of striped bass populations.
4. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Delta smelt Biological Opinion acknowledged that there is no evidence that striped bass pose a significant threat to Delta smelt.
5. Recent surveys of predators in the Delta have not found Delta smelt in the stomachs of striped bass.  Indeed, the evidence indicates that striped bass may actually help Delta smelt by preying on significant predators of smelt.  
6. Respected fishery scientists like Peter Moyle and Matt Nobriga agree that there is no hard evidence that striped bass have caused Delta smelt populations to decline.

CSPA is already working with legislators to ensure that this latest misdirection gimmick never sees the light of day. 

That does not mean that we won’t need your help. A number of volunteers have already come forward. Once we determine the necessary response, we may ask for additional people to provide specific help in certain areas or may ask for general assistance in the form of letter campaigns, attending hearings, etc.  However, let’s not be premature and overreact. Keep current on what CSPA is doing by checking in to our website and sign up for our weekly newsletters and action alerts by using the enrollment box on the website front page.

As most of you realize, this bill is only one facet of a greater plan conceived by the water agencies that want the delta’s resources for their own profit and greed, regardless of the damage done to the environment. CSPA hopes that this bill is the wakeup call that brings the issue home. Even when this bill is defeated, our efforts to restore the delta must continue. We will need every one of you to join in this effort.

Bill Jennings, Executive Director, CSPA