Fish and Game Commission shakeup forces cancellation of committee meeting

Parimal M. Rohit

STATEWIDE — A regularly scheduled July 8 meeting of the Fish and Game Commission’s Marine Resources Committee (MRC) was cancelled in light of Gov. Jerry Brown recently replacing two of its members with new appointees.

The meeting cancellation means the committee, which only had three scheduled meetings for 2015, will not meet again until Nov. 4, when the MRC is set to convene in Ventura.

Brown announced the appointments of Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams last month to replace Richard Rogers and Michael Sutton on the five-member Fish and Game Commission. Richards and Sutton served as co-chairs of the MRC.

Sonke Mastrup, executive director of the Fish and Game Commission, said commissioners could vote on who will fill the committee’s two vacancies at the next commission meeting, scheduled for Aug. 4-5 in Fortuna, California.

“The cancelled meeting will not impact progress on the red abalone and spiny lobster Fishery Management Plans because both were scheduled for an update that did not require input from the committee,” Mastrup said.

Committee members convened only once this year, a March 4 meeting in Marina, California where fishery management plans for red abalone and spiny lobster were fleshed out.

Specifically, the MRC reviewed on March 4 a set of recommendations by the Lobster Advisory Committee to regulate the recreational lobster fishery by 2017. Recommendations included requiring recreational divers to clip lobster tails, limiting the use of mechanized pullers and changing the official start time of the season opener.

MRC’s members and staff were also reviewing possible amendments to ocean sport fishing regulations and an experimental squid fishing fishery.

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