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Thread: Striped bass: Delta villains?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Default Striped bass: Delta villains?

    It's interesting to see when you look at different regions of the country and folks have varying perspectives on striped bass.
    Here they say the bass are too many because they are eating all the salmon.

    Striped bass: Delta villains?

    By Mike Taugher
    Contra Costa Times
    Posted: 06/15/2010 05:27:38 PM PDT
    Updated: 06/16/2010 10:44:12 AM PDT

    Click photo to enlarge

    FILE PHOTO--Juan Hermosillo, visiting from Guadalajara, holds his catch a... ( Susan T Pollard )

    It was 1879 when a Harvard-educated fish scientist took striped bass caught in New Jersey's Navesink River and poured 132 of them into the Carquinez Strait near Martinez.
    Livingston Stone, a Unitarian minister who also started the nation's first freshwater hatchery, shepherded the fish in wooden barrels and milk jugs on a transcontinental railroad completed just 10 years earlier.
    The fish liked it here, and today striped bass are one of the most popular sport fishes in California. They also are a major economic factor for Delta communities that cater to sport fishing.
    But 130 years later a growing chorus wants to eradicate the fish, and no one is more insistent it appears than Stewart Resnick, a Los Angeles billionaire with vast orchards in Kern County that depend on Delta water.
    A water-users coalition run by Resnick's business interests and a handful of water districts have sued state regulators for fostering striped bass populations.
    Because striped bass eat endangered fish, the lawsuit claims, the state is violating the endangered species law and cutting into the water supplies of Kern County farmers.
    A hearing is set for July 2 at which lawyers will pose two questions: Are striped bass eating endangered fish? And is a two-fish limit for striped bass anglers enabling more stripers to eat more salmon and smelt?
    If so, then anglers should be free to catch all the stripers they want, lawyers will argue.
    "It's boneheaded to protect striped bass at the expense of salmon," said Michael Boccadoro, a spokesman for the Kern County farmers. "The state has the duty to protect endangered species."

    State officials declined to comment.
    But federal regulators responsible for protecting endangered salmon recently recommended that the California Fish and Game Commission lift the limits.
    "It means the farmers are going to get what they want, and that's to decimate the striped bass," said Roger Mammon, an Oakley fisherman. "They're trying to deflect attention from the (Delta water) pumps and blame the fish in the Delta."
    "The fishing is worth millions to the local economy, from the boat dealers, to the tackle shops, bait shops and marinas," Mammon said.
    He predicted that subsistence anglers would keep all the fish they could catch and eat them, despite the danger of eating striped bass contaminated with mercury, PCBs and other poisons. Boccadoro said he was unaware of the standing health advisories against eating more than small amounts of the fish.
    Though Boccadoro said the legal issues are clear, the science is not.
    "It's trying to treat symptoms instead of problems," said Peter Moyle, a fisheries biologist at UC Davis who is widely considered to be one of the top fish biologists in California.
    Moyle criticized the National Marine Fisheries Service recommendation.
    "From a biological point of view it doesn't make any sense. Politically, it might be a good idea," he said.
    Moyle said many of the endangered salmon and smelt that are eaten by striped bass were probably doomed because of other environmental problems. Predators take the weak.
    More importantly, Moyle said, taking out striped bass probably would not boost endangered fish populations because an effective predator control program also would target other predators, especially largemouth bass.
    Striped bass thrived until the 1960s or 1970s, about the time Delta water pumps started sending large amounts of water south.
    Today, adult striped bass that once numbered an estimated 3 million fish have declined to near, or below, their previous record low population of 600,000, set in the mid-1990s.

    The long, slow decline of striped bass is probably related to the decline of the Delta's ecosystem, biologists say.

    The growing volume of water shipped out of the Delta changed its character. It became less of an estuary that could support salmon, smelt and striped bass and more of a freshwater system that favors largemouth bass, toxic blue-green algae, Brazilian water weed and exotic clams.

    The change is largely due, indirectly, to the pumps that divert water to Kern County and elsewhere, Moyle said.
    "The whole system has had a major shift," Moyle said. "The ones that depend on the estuary — none of them are doing well."
    From an ecological perspective, Moyle said, it would be better to restore estuary-like conditions, which he said would boost the numbers of smelt, salmon and striped bass while driving out "undesirable" species, including largemouth bass.

    Federal regulators, however, said they see striped bass as an "embedded" contributor to the Delta's decline and that eradication might be pursued even after lifting the catch limit.
    "We kind of see this (eliminating striped bass fishing regulations) as a first step," said Howard Brown, acting Central Valley office supervisor for the National Marine Fisheries Service. "It's sensitive because they are a popular fish. We're going to be taking a hard look at reducing their numbers. "... The threat of striped bass in the system is greater than ever."

    A better way to control predation, Moyle said, would be to focus on "hot spots" where striped bass and other fish eat smaller fish.
    Several of those hot spots are associated with the projects that deliver Delta water south, including a forebay near the state-owned pumps, and the Delta areas where fish caught in tanks at the pumps are released.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    from New Haven live in Wallingford Ct.

    Default problem

    there was a similar deal happening several years ago on the Ct. river,salmon smolts were released into the river for years at costs of millions of dollars and all they wer doing was feeding stripers,fluke and other fish as the smolts swim deep and follow the main channels out to the open sea,they were met head on by bass and such that simply picked nearly all of them off.

    they did get VERY small amounts of adult salmon that returned but each salmon cost thousands each as only double digit amounts showed up in ladders.

    same thing with steelhead that gather at the bottom of some dam on the west coast,along with protected sturgeon,seals decimated them both as 4,5 even 8 foot sturgeon were leaping from the water trying to evade the seals that tore open their bellies and ate very little then went after another.

    the 1972 federal marine mammal act needs to be revised,as the feds always try to control us,them dammned seals need to be controlled as well.
    TBVH,,I would like to see them controlled and right now.
    what has to happen is for the seals to kill a few humans then they "might" act on it,there are just too many of them and something has to come to be.

    as with everything it seems,things just work their way out of control and we are supposed to just let it be because of some "law".
    there is not more time for games and feelings,we must act,,,Now!

    thats my opinion + $ 1.50

    Takes a Big Man to sling Big Wood,,,,boys sling plastic,,,,,,,

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