Parimal M. Rohit
MPA enforcement bill signed into law
The Latest: Assembly Bill 298 (AB 298), a bill seeking to crackdown on recreational anglers dropping lines in protected areas, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown after being unanimously adopted by the full State Senate on June 22.
Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez (D- San Diego) introduced AB 298 in February; it was unanimously approved by the State Assembly in April.
Wardens with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) would have the power to cite anyone who navigates into an MPA and poaches fish. The citations would function similar to a traffic ticket and give city and district attorneys the opportunity to dedicate resources to pursuing other, more serious crimes.
Violators would be fined between $100 and $1,000 for a first-time infraction.
The Bottom line: AB 298 goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
New Fish and Game Commission appointments cause committee meeting to be cancelled
The Latest: Two “vacant” seats on the Fish and Game Commission were filled in late June, as Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams to replace commissioners Richard Rogers and Michael Sutton on June 18. The appointments resulted in a Marine Resources Committee meeting scheduled for July 8 to be cancelled. Rogers and Sutton were co-chairs of the commission’s committee.
Sklar and Williams join Jack Bayliss, Jacque Hostler-Carmesin and Jim Kellogg on the commission, which regulates the taking and possession of key species in California’s mountains, deserts, waterways, oceans and other natural environments. The commission’s policies directly impact anglers and hunters.
Rogers’ term expired in January 2011 but was allowed to continue serving an additional 65 months because his successor was not selected until last month.
Similarly, Sutton’s appointment technically ended in January but remained on the commission for an additional five months.
Neither Sklar nor Williams have reported fishing or hunting experience.
The Bottom line: New committee members will be decided upon at the commission’s August meeting. The commissioners were also awaiting State Senate approval as of press time.
Appropriations bill could restrict lead regulation, prioritize Fish and Wildlife funding
The Latest: The 2016 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill could prevent the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating lead content of fishing tackle and fund the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to pay for certain conservation programs.
House Resolution 2822 (HR 2822) proposes to provide $30.17 billion in discretionary funding to protect natural resources. The EPA would receive $7.4 billion in funding next year, about $718 million less than this year’s level. A portion of the funding revision would restrict the EPA from regulating or banning lead content in fishing tackles. States, however, would not be required to regulate or ban lead from fishing tackles.
The appropriations bill would also provide FWS with $1.4 billion in funding, about $8 million less than its current budget.
“The legislation prioritizes funding for programs such as those to conserve sage-grouse, to reduce the delisting backlog for recovered species, to fight invasive species, to prevent illegal wildlife trafficking and to prevent the closure of fish hatcheries,” a release issued by the House Committee on Appropriations stated.
The Bottom line: Representatives and Senators are still hashing out HR 2822. The bill is still circulating in the House. As of July 8, the bill’s amendments were being debated on the House floor.