|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 25, 2010
Contact: Marty Gingras, DFG Supervising Biologist,
New Regulations Provide Additional Protection for Threatened Green Sturgeon
California's threatened green sturgeon will benefit from additional protective measures starting March 1. To protect spawning green sturgeon from what is called incidental or hooking mortality, fishing for sturgeon will be prohibited year-round on the Sacramento River from the Keswick Dam (Shasta County, west of Redding) to the Hwy 162 Bridge (near Butte City). The use of sturgeon-specific fishing gear and bait, including wire leaders, lamprey and shrimp, will also be prohibited in the same reach of water.
"These additional measures to protect threatened green sturgeon are designed to eliminate a de-facto catch and release fishery on the spawning grounds," said Marty Gingras, Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Supervising Biologist of the Bay Delta Region.
Scientists now believe green sturgeon only spawn in the Sacramento, Klamath and Rogue rivers. The new regulations protect green sturgeon on their spawning grounds on the Sacramento River. This measure is estimated to reduce overall incidental green sturgeon catch in California by approximately 25 percent.
California's green sturgeon was listed in 2006 as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The harvest of green sturgeon in California was prohibited in 2007.
Green sturgeon can live more than 50 years and are known to reach 7 feet in length. With several rows of large and very sharp scutes, small eyes and whisker-like sensory organs, they appear primitive and look similar to white sturgeon. Problems arose when anglers legally fishing for white sturgeon in the spawning area caught green sturgeon instead.
DFG encourages sturgeon anglers to use protective catch-and-release techniques whenever fishing for and handling sturgeon. While fishing in the San Francisco estuary, as well as the Sacramento River anglers may encounter migrating egg-laden green or white sturgeon traveling to their spawning areas. Catch-and-release techniques provide protective measures for both species of sturgeon and particularly mature females.
Recommended catch-and-release techniques for sturgeon include the use of heavy fishing gear, landing the fish quickly, handling the fish with cotton gloves and keeping the fish submerged at all times.
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