CAL DFG NEEDS TO BE REFORMED IF CALIFORNIA SALMON ARE TO BE SAVED, STUDY FINDS: A University of California-Davis report released 19 November 2008 predicts that 65% of California’s native salmon species will be extinct within 100 years. The recreation and environmental advocacy group California Trout commissioned the study led by Dr. Peter Moyle, a prominent UC Davis biologist who is considered a top authority on California’s native salmon and trout species. The study took nearly 2 years to complete.
California is home to 32 varieties of salmon and trout, one already extinct and 29 already protected under endangered species law or designated for special protection. One of the two species left of those 32 is the Central Valley’s fall run chinook, which was considered a healthy population until so few returned to spawn last year that the commercial fishery had to be entirely shut down.
Salmon face a variety of obstacles in their anadromous life cycle, and Moyle points out that for the fish it’s “death by a thousand cuts.” The report attributes the decline to a variety of causes, including dams blocking spawning habitat, timber harvest, water diversions, poor water quality and siltation. Additionally, the report recommends radical reform of the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), which is responsible for regulating the state’s fisheries and enforcing endangered species law. The report points out that the decline of this iconic fish happened under the CDFG’s watch, and if these species are going to be saved the agency needs better leadership and funding.
A 2 December Sacramento Bee article can be found at www.sacbee.com/378/story/1413033.html
The report itself can be found on California Trout’s website, www.caltrout.org < http:// www.caltrout.org/