Old Thread — Marty Gingras from Dept. of Fish and Game on sturgeon regulations...

Ken Jones

Staff member
The regulations were changed including the no take rule on green sturgeon.

Date: April 8, 2005
To: PFIC Message Board
From: Marty Gingras
Opinion Poll: Potential California Sturgeon Reg’s

Hello all, I'm asking for your opinion on some potential regulations regarding sturgeon fishing in the Sacramento-San Joaquin system (including all anadromous waters inland of the Golden Gate Bridge). These have not been formally proposed!

The idea behind these potential regulations is that:

(1) they would be interim measures to be used while comprehensive analyses and stakeholder coordination regarding other potential regulations (e.g., change slot limit) are being pursued,
(2) the cost to anglers would be essentially zero,
(3) they would be largely consistent with regulations in Oregon and Washington, and
(4) they would be consistent with an approach to reduce stress and resultant mortality of fishes (including a species of concern being proposed for listing as threatened) with a life history placing their populations at particular risk to over harvest.

These regulations would be:

(1) Catch and release only for green sturgeon.
(2) Green sturgeon may not be removed from the water and must be immediately released unharmed.
(3) Oversize white sturgeon must not be removed totally or in part from the water.
(4) All oversize and undersize white sturgeon must be immediately released unharmed into the water.

By way of email or a post here, please take a moment to let me know which of those potential regulations you would support. Thanks, Marty Gingras
Senior Biologist Supervisor (Fisheries), California Department of Fish and Game, Central Valley Bay Delta Branch, 4001 North Wilson Way, Stockton, California 95205, Phone (209) 948-3702, email mgingras@delta.dfg.ca.gov

Posted by StripeSideChaser


1 and 2 if there was proof of need... I haven't seen any valid data which shows the green is endangered (but honestly haven't been looking up to this point)

3 and 4 would need to be written so that they didn't become a trap for anglers... measuring a sturgeon in the water is nearly impossible (and totally impossible from an elevated pier)... if the sturgeon was close to the size limit, how would the angler know if it was a legal fish without removing it from the water.

I caught one over 8 ft, and released it in the water (obviously oversized and I didn't want to injure it while lifting), but I've also caught one that was 6'5" and I didn't know it was oversized until I got it up on the pier since it was after dark.

Posted by 2d

SSC, Good points and saves me a bit of typing. Additionally,

1) aren't most green sturgeon that are caught undersized anyway? Also, there has to be some effort on the part of DFG to educate anglers about the difference between green and white dinos. With color variations and basic ignorance, I don't see how anglers will always know the difference, and, given the seeming lack of keeper greens anyway, this reg will probably be ignored for greens that somehow make it into the slot size.

Posted by bayfisherman

If one were fishing on a pier it may be very difficult if not impossible to measure and identify the sturgeon. If green sturgeon populations are threatened maybe there should be more closures or a wider area for closures. It's funny how there may be more regs to help sturgeon when I have yet to catch one.

Posted by Marty Gingras

I appreciate your comments StripeSideChaser, 2d, and bayfisherman.

The '...may not/must not be removed from the water...' parts certainly would not work well when fishing from piers and the species identification issue would certainly require some education. I'll work on the '...may not/must not be removed from the water...' part and will post how to tell a green sturgeon from a white sturgeon. Thanks much. Marty Gingras

Posted by 2d

Marty, I think, the percentage of anglers here who can tell a green from a white is much higher than the percentage of total anglers (I can't, but I have never, don't and probably will never fish for sturgeon). the tough part will be educating the everyday angler. people who post here are much more likely to be current on the regs and proactive about learning about the different species. That said, please do post the differences. it'd be educational even for those of us who don't chase dinos.

Posted by pescare

Something just occurred to me. "By way of email or a post here, please take a moment to let me know which of those potential regulations you would support."

Marty, With all due respect, I wonder if whether or not anglers will support a proposed regulation should really be a factor in its authoring or implementation. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear that DFG and FGC seem to be bowing to pressures from the RFA/Coastside/CPFV types and their campaigns to fight virtually every regulation in recent years. If it is the right thing to do, than do it for that reason and don't worry about gauging popular opinion. In short, don't let the inmates run the asylum.

When I first read your message it sounded good but to be honest, after some thought it worries me greatly that finger to the wind politics may play such a role in resource protection. I truly hope I'm wrong about this.

Posted by Marty Gingras

No 'finger to the wind politics' here! My role in this context is to provide DFG Managers with sound recommendations regarding management of sturgeon for their ecological values and for their use and enjoyment by the public. My posts are an effort to understand the fishery rather than to gauge political viability of potential recommendations, although some of my wording certainly could be interpreted that way. Thanks much. Marty Gingras

Posted by pescare

Very happy to hear that, obviously. Thanks for the clarification. I really still don't understand why angler opinions would, or should factor into resource management, but I'm content knowing DFG as an agency is not running scared as I feared.

Posted by bluegoat

The reason these people ask anglers there opinion is that very likely they don't know anything about the subject in question. If for instance someone asked you what your opinion was on allowing pier fishing at night because the DFG was considering closing all piers from 6:00 pm to 6:00am. What would you say? Gee that's like the fox guarding the hen house! Face it DFG is run by POLITICAL appointees and resource management is not necessarily there forte. Who decided to feed the Stripers and Birds by dumping salmon at the Benicia ramp every Wednesday on a regular schedule? What a waste. And to top it off the returning fish were trying to spawn in the sloughs in that area. Sometimes anglers who care about the resources can educate the politicians. Chill

Posted by prometheus

Coastside might like those regs, they've been fuming about some guy that's boated a couple huge sturgies and posted pics of them. Most green sturgeon are so small that I don't think taking them out of the water would be all that harmful, they probably survive as well as a similar size leopard shark or lingcod would.

Posted by prometheus

Oh. Also, how the heck are you supposed to release a fish caught from a pier without tanking it out of the water? You'd have to cut the line and risk that killing the fish (entanglement), or something similar?

Posted by Nufo

A punch card and a limit for yearly take. I see many people out there (on this site as well) who keep their first sturgeon, and then their second, and then third and so on. I personally keep only one per year and am very selective about which one I keep. I think there should be some limit to the amount of sturgeon you can harvest annually.

Posted by leony

Yep I agree...also, with a couple big hooks and plastic-coated wire leader hanging from its mouth, if you cut the line, the fish will probably die before the whole thing rusts away (if ever).

Yearly punch card is a good idea. Limit 1 or 2 a year. Glad to see you post in this wonderful site!

Posted by rsaxatilis

Keep it up Marty. You're postings are useful for all of us here in this site. Thanks!

Posted by Marty Gingras

Results of Opinion Poll. Hello all, Thank you for your comments and suggestions regarding the poll. There was much discussion on the boards (see below) and I learned a lot. I'm not going to be able to spend much additional time on the poll itself, so want to get you some of the results now.

On Friday I posted the poll on six bulletin boards and emailed it to 19 sturgeon guides. Someone posted it on a seventh bulletin board. By 22:30 Sunday I'd received 100 comments I felt I could interpret accurately.

Of the 100 comments:
- 57 supported and 7 opposed all four potential regulations.
- 7 supported and 2 opposed "Catch and release only for green sturgeon."
- 6 supported and 3 opposed "Green sturgeon may not be removed from the water and must be immediately released unharmed."
- 4 supported and 5 opposed "Oversize white sturgeon must not be removed totally or in part from the water."
- 5 supported and 4 opposed "All oversize and undersize white sturgeon must be immediately released unharmed into the water."

Most opposition was on principle rather than on the technical merits and/or utility of the potential regulations. However, several folks commented that it wouldn't be feasible (and perhaps hard on the fish) for anglers on piers and on partyboats to keep green sturgeon and oversize white sturgeon wholely in the water.

Several folks commented but gave no opinion because they didn't have sufficient information about the sturgeon population being discussed and/or the fishery. I will get some information together and post it.

Thanks again for taking time to comment and make suggestions. They will be valuable in future discussions (leading to decisions) about managing the Sacramento-San Joaquin system sturgeons. Marty Gingras