DFG does not plan to close access to other sections of the Reserve. The reserve is composed of former industrial salt ponds now managed by DFG as low-salinity waterbird habitat. There is no fee for these hunts.
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Apprentice hunters may participate, but must hold a Junior Hunting License and be accompanied by an adult hunter or non-hunter. Upon arrival at the reserve, hunters must provide valid California hunting licenses with federal and state duck stamps to check in with DFGstaff. Hunters must also complete the Harvest Information Program Survey upon checkout and must allow inspection of gear and game for use in evaluating hunter success and harvest data. Hunters are responsible for avoiding closed areas and there is a shell limit in the field.
Vehicles may be driven on designated levees to reach various locations or to launch boats for waterfowl hunting and are only allowed on the hunt dates. A small boat, canoe or other floatation device is highly recommended to access ponds, blinds and navigable sloughs, as well as for retrieval.
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A hunting dog is also recommended to assist with the retrieval of birds. Hunters will receive additional information, including area rules and regulations and maps, at the time of check-in. Hunters will find that many changes have been made for the season, including the addition of tidal areas, improved graveled roads, better pond access and refurbished blinds.
Formal plans for additional public access opportunities at the reserve are being developed as part of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project www. Turn left on Whipple Road, right on Horner Street, then right on Veasy Street and enter at the yellow gate to check in. The California Department of Fish and Game DFG will hold a public workshop to review its proposal to change sport fishing regulations related to striped bass.
The workshop will be held Tuesday, Nov. The proposed changes affect the striped bass bag, size and possession limits. The proposal will be presented to the California Fish and Game Commission for consideration at its December meeting.
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Striped bass have been abundant in California waterways since they were introduced from the Atlantic Coast in the s. DFG scientists believe that the striped bass population in California has numbered in the millions every year for more than a century. While the extent of striped bass predation on listed species cannot be precisely determined, the best available science indicates that the impact could be substantial.
Efforts to manage striped bass became controversial in the s with the listing of Chinook salmon and delta smelt under the state and federal Endangered Species Acts and have remained controversial since. Both as part of a settlement agreement and as a result of continuing work by USFWS, NOAA Fisheries and DFG to recover the listed species, DFG and the federal agencies developed the proposal to modify striped bass fishing regulations in an effort to reduce striped bass predation on the listed species. Although the amount of impact attributable to striped bass predation is not certain, DFG strongly suspects that the impact can be reduced by the proposed regulations.
With the proposed changes, striped bass would likely become somewhat less abundant and the average size of striped bass would decline, but fishing effort and fishing success would likely increase for a period of at least several years. DFG is also recommending an adaptive management plan that will help assess how the new regulations influence the fishery. Both species are caught by anglers in a popular sport fishery centered in the San Francisco Estuary, but anglers need to be aware of special regulations in place to protect the long-term health and growth of the species.
White sturgeon are a substantial management concern and green sturgeon are a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Sturgeon can be caught year-round and must be carefully measured. White sturgeon need to be between 46 and 66 inches those that are smaller or larger must be released immediately. Green sturgeon may not be kept. Strict regulations are designed to conserve older sturgeon and ensure that they survive catch-and-release as well.
The effectiveness of catch-and-release depends in large part on angler technique. It found that the coastwide menhaden biomass — an estimate of the weight of the entire population — was near or above the long-term average during much of the past decade. And, it found no evidence of overfishing since the s. Fishing industry representatives said the new assessment validates their objections to the cuts, and said it should boost the prospect for increased catch limits. Conservation groups that have long pressed for more restrictive menhaden catch limits say it remains uncertain that enough menhaden are left uncaught to support rockfish and other predators.
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There is, nonetheless, agreement that the new assessment provides a much clearer picture of the menhaden stock. Whereas previous assessments had relied primarily on commercial fishing data, the new assessment made extensive use of new information provided by fishermen, states, federal agencies and organizations to help build a better picture of the stock. Those data suggested better reproduction from regions where information was not available for previous assessments, and the presence of more larger and older fish — especially in areas farther north — than were previously thought to exist.
As part of its review, the stock assessment panel also concluded that previous assessments had misinterpreted a decades-old study when they assumed most menhaden did not begin to reproduce until they were about 3 years old. Based on new information, the new assessment assumes that some portion of the fish begin to reach maturity when they are about 2 years old.
That results in a larger abundance of reproductive-capable fish which, in turn, has the potential to produce more young. The assessment also changed the assumptions about the age of fish caught in the fishery, based on surveys that suggested there were more older and larger fish in the population than previously thought. The assessment got a thumbs-up from a peer review panel. But, conservation groups and some fishery managers say that, as in the past, the assessment is focused on the status of the menhaden stock, and whether harvests are staying within sustainable levels.
But exactly how many fish need to be left after the commercial catch to fulfill their ecological role is an illusive question.
Anglers have complained about rockfish that are skinny and in poor health, and have blamed the commercial fishery for catching too many menhaden. Measured in pounds, menhaden make up, by far, the largest harvest in the Bay. The rest is caught by smaller operations along the coast that supply menhaden as bait for use in a variety of other fisheries. The issue of how to manage fisheries so they meet both commercial and ecological roles is a larger debate playing out globally.
Conservationists have sought to limit catches of forage species — such as menhaden, shad and herring — which are important food for other species. It is a positive assessment. Many fishermen, especially small, bait operations were hard-hit by the cuts. Many states got what turned out to be significant cuts when quotas were set in because of a lack of historical data from bait fisheries to guide allocations.
That, in turn, has also hurt other local fisheries that depended on the menhaden for bait. We do need to move forward carefully, deliberately. Bill Goldsborough, a fisheries scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and a member of the Menhaden Board, cautioned that while the stock assessment was generally good news, it also contained some issues of concern.
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