Saturday, February 04, 2006

California Department of Fish and Game white sturgeon

The California Department of Fish and Game had earlier proposed ending all harvest of white sturgeon on the Sacramento River upstream from the Highway 12 bridge and on the San Joaquin River upstream from the Interstate 5 bridge between March 1 and June 30, the peak spawning season.
However, anglers said better data on the sturgeon population is needed before imposing new limits, during Thursday's hearing. They also called for a less restrictive ban, such as a limit of five fish per year. Current rules allow one sturgeon per day, as long as those fish are between 46 and 72 inches long.
State officials contend the new limit is needed due to a drop in sturgeon numbers. State data shows white sturgeon have fallen from 144,000 fish in 1998 to about 10,000 now, with only 2,000 of those being spawning-age females.
The commission may require anglers to help the state acquire data on sturgeon numbers as part of a new catch limit. Anglers might be asked to use a punch card to record the number of sturgeon they catch - both those they keep and those they release.
The commission may also extend catch limits to include the Delta and San Francisco Bay. It also could change the current size limit, and apply the catch limits year-round instead of just during spawning months.
Sturgeon are considered one of the most ancient fish species in existence. They also are big, reaching up to 20 feet long and 2,000 pounds.

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