A BILL by Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) to continue a fisherman-funded programme designed to increase salmon populations has been signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown.
The bill, SB 470, extends the commercial salmon stamp programme which was initiated by fishermen more than 30 years ago.
“Commercial fishermen understood that the fishery that they depended on was under enormous strain due to diversions, dams and loss of habitat, and they took it on themselves to invest in their future,” said Senator Evans.
“SB 470 simply means more fish and more jobs,” said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, a major supporter of the Bill.
Commercial fishermen and commercial passenger vessel operators now purchase salmon stamps, whose proceeds are placed into the Fish and Game Preservation Fund and go to projects such as habitat restoration and hatchery improvements to restore and enhance salmon fisheries, with the intention of increasing salmon landings over time. Fishermen are charged for the stamp according to the previous year’s landing with a $280.00 maximum.
Salmon stamp funds can also go to educational projects to increase the public’s understanding of salmon natural history and the challenges salmon face to survive and reproduce. Funds from the salmon stamp programme are often leveraged with funding from other state and federal programmes.
Some examples of salmon stamp funded programmes include a fish ladder at the Iron Gate Hatchery; a captive broodstock programme at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, and numerous habitat restoration projects in the Klamath, Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds.
“This investment supports jobs in local communities, first for workers involved in restoration and habitat activities, then for river guides, outfitting stores, local lodgings, restaurants and, of course, commercial fishermen themselves,” said Senator Evans.
Recognising the state’s fiscal crisis, SB 470 ensures that all salmon stamp administrative costs are covered and all expenditures are accounted for. For the first time in the history of the programme, the Department of Fish & Game will post an annual accounting of salmon stamp expenditures on its website.
Last week the Governor signed another Evans bill supported by California fishermen, SB 369, which set new crab trap limits, helping to ensure both the environmental and economic sustainability of the state’s Dungeness crab fishery.State Senator Noreen Evans represents the Second Senatorial District, including all or portions of the Counties of Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, and Sonoma. Senator Evans Chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Committee on Judiciary.