An article in the Feb. 10 issue of Western Outdoors News has some local fishermen from the Almanor Fishing Association concerned.
The article says in part, “ In a move that could expand a ban on fish stocking from much of the Sierra Nevada to many coastal and valley communities, the Center for Biological Diversity has filed a petition to list the 1-1/2 to 3-inch Foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boyii) as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act.”
In response to the petition, California’s leading sport fishing organization, the California Sport Fishing League, sent a letter to the California Fish and Wildlife Commission, requesting an analysis regarding which bodies of water may be restricted for fishing, and to what extent and for how long fish stocking and recreational fishing could be restricted in these areas.
“Expanding the current prohibition on fish stocking will have a profound impact on California communities dependent on recreational fishing for outdoor tourism and jobs,” said Marko Mlikotin, executive director of CSL.
Currently, fish stocking is already prohibited in much of the Sierra Nevada, and these restrictions are presently the subject of much debate, due to the fact that government agencies could not provide evidence of endangered species or that fish were the leading contributors to declining frog populations.
Fish stocking bans can lead to campgrounds and marina operations being closed, harming local tourism and killing jobs.
“Making fishing less accessible will further harm fishing participation rates and communities that depend on outdoor recreation for jobs,” said Mlikotin.
According to a CSL study, annual fishing license sales have already declined over 55 percent since 1980.
Recreational fishing in California is estimated to contribute over $4.9 billion annually to the state’s economy.
Over 1.6 million Californians, 16 and older, fish in California and approximately 100,000 visitors come to California to fish each year.