On Wednesday, the members of the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) considered and unanimously approved an emergency proposal by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to allow the CDFW Director to approve targeted delays of recreational fishing seasons in response to requests from four RCRC-member counties. The emergency meeting was rescheduled from last week, when the Commission’s teleconference meeting was overwhelmed by members of the public, many who misunderstood the proposal as a statewide ban on fishing during the current pandemic.
RCRC testified in support of the requests by Alpine, Inyo, Mono and Sierra Counties, who expressed concerns that they will be overwhelmed by non-resident visitors if the trout fishing season is allowed to open on April 25, 2020 as scheduled. RCRC also sent a letter to the Commission last week to express that seasons should only be postponed if a county authority requests. The potential volume of visitors could easily overload the available amenities (health care system, grocery stores, etc.) in those areas, as well as exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 during the statewide Stay-At-Home Order. RCRC also reiterated in its testimony that the delays should only be at the request of local governments, ensuring that those areas wishing to continue with recreational fishing seasons will be able to do so.
The authority adopted by the Commission is temporary, and will expire on May 31, 2020. For more information, visit the California Fish and Game Commission’s website here.