California Association for Recreational Fishing http://www.savecalfishing.org Protecting California's Recreational Fishing Industry Sat, 29 Apr 2017 21:04:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ag Alert: Court ruling upends fish-stocking regulations http://www.savecalfishing.org/2015/04/24/ag-alert-court-ruling-upends-fish-stocking-regulations/ Fri, 24 Apr 2015 19:04:42 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=564 Courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation: By Ching Lee California aquaculture producers say they are pleased with a court decision that struck down proposed new regulations from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife on fish stocking activities in California’s public and private waters. The California Third District Court of Appeal ruled last week …

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Courtesy of the California Farm Bureau Federation:

By Ching Lee

California aquaculture producers say they are pleased with a court decision that struck down proposed new regulations from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife on fish stocking activities in California’s public and private waters.

The California Third District Court of Appeal ruled last week that three proposed measures the department sought to implement to its existing fish-stocking permitting process amounted to “underground regulations” in violation of state law.

Fish farmers say the fish-stocking regulations the state proposed were so extensive and costly that they threatened their ability to stay in business and could have blocked many stocking ponds and hatcheries from continuing to operate. With the ruling, those regulations are now stricken.

The court decision is not only a victory for those in the aquaculture business, said Tony Vaught, owner of Professional Aquaculture Services in Chico; it’s a win for those who enjoy recreational fishing and all landowners who want to stock fish on their private property, including farmers and ranchers with stock ponds, irrigation ponds and frost protection ponds, he added.

“Because of this ruling, we’re able to stock those ponds and keep them healthy, and they can be used for recreation,” said Vaught, whose company has been stocking ponds for more than 35 years.

The California Association of Recreational Fishing, which represents recreational fishermen and businesses that serve them, filed the lawsuit against CDFW, saying the department created the new rules “in the dark”—without any request from the state Legislature and without seeking public review and comment, as mandated by the state Administrative Procedure Act.

“We’re happy to hear that the court agreed with us and that the department has got to follow the rules when they decide to make new regulations,” said Craig Elliott, president of CARF and a fish farmer who also operates several fishing lakes in Southern California.

Joshua Thompson, attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the association in the case, said part of the argument isn’t that the department lacks the authority to regulate California waters, but that it developed the regulations “behind closed doors” without input from the public and those who would be affected by those regulations.

The department’s new regulations were born out of a 2006 lawsuit by environmental groups against the state’s own fish stocking activities. That suit led CDFW to complete an environmental impact report, released in 2010, that said the stocking of lakes and ponds with hatchery-bred fish puts indigenous fish and habitat at risk.

But rather than focusing on just the state’s own hatcheries, the report determined that new regulations should be imposed on private stocking operations as well.

“Basically, (the department was) trying to use the environmental impact report as their justification for being able to implement these new regulations, and that’s just not the way things are done,” Elliott said.

Under those new rules, aquaculture farms that stock fish in lakes and ponds would have been required to have regular inspections and continuous monitoring for invasive species. Landowners who want to stock fish on their private property would have needed to obtain a permit—currently not required for some fish species stocked in self-contained lakes and ponds in 37 counties—and a health certificate from the farm conducting the stocking.

An economic analysis commissioned by CARF found that costs to complete biological surveys required by the new protocols could exceed $100,000 every one to five years.

The new rules received so much opposition from fish farmers, lake operators, fishing enthusiasts and businesses that rely on recreational fishing that the California Fish viagrapill and Game Commission chose not to adopt them in late 2011, telling the department “to come back with something more appropriate.”

Even though the commission rejected the regulations, Elliott said CARF decided to proceed with the lawsuit, which it filed in 2010, to ensure the department goes through the proper process in developing any new regulations.

A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the department in 2012, but the association appealed that decision.

Vaught said while the litigation continued, the department “backed way off” in trying to implement any new rules, as “they were waiting for the court decision to see what direction they were going to go.” During this time, fish farmers have, “for the most part,” been able to stock ponds as they had done for years, he said. But he noted that in areas where permits are needed, the approval process is now “taking longer,” sometimes up to a year, and that has affected his business.

In light of the court decision, CDFW said in a statement that it “will work collaboratively with the aquaculture industry to ensure any future regulations proposed regarding each program will protect California’s natural resources.”

CDFW spokeswoman Jordan Traverso noted that since “regulations are already in place” for fish stocking, the department “will operate under those existing regulations.”

Vaught said aquaculture operators are not stocking in sensitive areas that pose a threat to protected species, and the fish they stock are widespread in the state, “so it shouldn’t be a problem to keep doing this.”

(Ching Lee is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at clee@cfbf.com.)

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PAY-TO-FISH: Operators snag court win http://www.savecalfishing.org/2015/04/13/pay-to-fish-operators-snag-court-win/ Mon, 13 Apr 2015 19:18:17 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=560 A Sacramento appellate court this week struck down rules that would have required operators of privately owned fishing lakes and ponds in California to conduct biological studies to determine how their fish stocking may affect wildlife. The owners of the pay-to-fish businesses and hatcheries and fish farms that supply them successfully argued that the rules …

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A Sacramento appellate court this week struck down rules that would have required operators of privately owned fishing lakes and ponds in California to conduct biological studies to determine how their fish stocking may affect wildlife.

The owners of the pay-to-fish businesses and hatcheries and fish farms that supply them successfully argued that the rules were wrongly imposed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife without public input.

They also contended that the cost of the studies threatened their livelihoods.

“We stopped and said, ‘Wait a minute. This is horrible. The things they wanted to do will put us out of business,’ “ said Craig Elliott, cheap viagra online owner of Corona Lake, a private fishing lake off Interstate 15 between Corona and Lake Elsinore.

“It is a good day for fishermen, said Elliott, who also is president of the California Association of Recreational Fishing…

Read the full article at The Press Enterprise.

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A Legal Victory for Anglers and Fish Farmers http://www.savecalfishing.org/2015/04/10/a-legal-victory-for-anglers-and-fish-farmers/ Fri, 10 Apr 2015 23:04:46 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=549 In a major court case, California’s 3rd District Appellate Court ruled that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) illegally imposed “underground” regulations on California fish farmers and fishing lakes! In a unanimous decision, the Court’s justices ruled that the Department’s new fish stocking regulations requiring lakes to undergo onerous and costly environmental studies …

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In a major court case, California’s 3rd District Appellate Court ruled that the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) illegally imposed “underground” regulations on California fish farmers and fishing lakes! In a unanimous decision, the Court’s justices ruled that the Department’s new fish stocking regulations requiring lakes to undergo onerous and costly environmental studies (potentially in excess of $100k!) prior to being stocked and buried in an environmental document thousands of pages long were indeed underground and illegal regulations. The regulations threatened to put family fish farmers that stock California lakes out of business, as well as, fee-for-fishing lakes that provide an affordable source of outdoor recreation.

“We could not be more pleased with the Appellate Court’s rejection of the Department’s illegal regulations,” said Craig Elliott, President of CARF and a recreational fishing lakes operator and fish farmer. “This ruling ensures that freshwater fishing will continue to be an affordable and accessible form of recreation for California families and a source of jobs.”

The Court’s decision will help protect California’s greatest pastime and ensure that lakes throughout California continue to be stocked, as they have for over 100 years. We cannot be more pleased with the Court’s pro-business and pro-fishing decision, and owe a debt of gratitude to the Pacific Legal Foundation for championing our cause.

 

Below is a press release courtesy of PLF:

 

Victory preserves jobs, recreational opportunities for individuals, families

The court’s ruling: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C072486.PDF

Sacramento, CA; February 10, 2015:  The California Third District Court of Appeal has struck down the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s illegally drafted permitting requirements on recreational freshwater fishing — regulations that threatened to decimate the $2.4 billion industry by driving fishing lakes, private hatcheries, and fish farms out of business.

The ruling came in a lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), by Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), representing the California Association for Recreational Fishing (CARF), a grass-roots organization of freshwater recreational fishermen and businesses that serve them.  PLF represents CARF — as with all clients — free of charge.

Even though the state’s freshwater fish population is historically healthy, DFW devised a radical new mandate on hatcheries and stocking ponds.  Before they could stock or raise any fish, DFW would have to determine there would be no effect on dozens of arbitrarily-selected species — including species that are abundant and thriving in California.

This process would be so cumbersome and drawn out that it could effectively block many stocking ponds and hatcheries from continuing to operate.

 

Heavy-handed regulations adopted without public input

 

PLF challenged the new requirements because they were drafted without public input, as mandated by the California Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA).  In ruling for PLF and striking them down, the Third District agreed they are illegal ‘underground regulations’ — i.e. the bureaucracy did not comply with CAPA’s requirements for public review and comments.

 

PLF statement: A win for accountability in government

“This court ruling is a powerful victory for everyone who values recreational fishing opportunities, and for everyone who values openness and accountability in government,” said PLF Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Thompson.  “The DFW concocted these radical regulations all on its own, without any request from the Legislature and without seeking public review and comment as state law requires.  This court victory saves recreational fishing from out-of-control regulators and protects everyone’s rights by reminding bureaucrats they aren’t above the law.”

The controversial new regulations are rooted in a 2010 Fish and Wildlife Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that claims the stocking of lakes and ponds with hatchery bred fish puts indigenous fish and habitat in danger.  The report also radically changed the permitting process for stocking private fishing lakes and ponds without any public review or input, and without direction from the State Legislature.

The state agency changed its fish stocking permitting process in the EIR by prohibiting all stocking which would have an adverse effect on “decision species.”  More than half of these so-called “decision species” are not listed under any statute or regulation, but were included by agency whim, stated Thompson.  The EIR also required private hatcheries to engage in continuous and expensive monitoring for invasive species, the results of which must be reported to the Department for use in its investigations and permitting decisions.

The regulations would also have required environmental reports for California fishing lakes, at costs potentially exceeding $100,000 every 1-5 years, threatening the ability of fishing lakes to remain in operation and provide an affordable form of outdoor recreation.

Under CAPA, agencies must follow notice and comment procedures before adopting regulations.  These procedures not only protect the people who will be subject to the regulation, but benefit everyone by ensuring that agencies only adopt regulations once the consequences have been brought to light.  As the Third District affirmed in striking down the new permitting requirements, any regulation that is adopted without following these procedures is an “underground regulation” and void.

 

CARF president:  A win for families who love freshwater fishing

“We could not be more pleased with the Appellate Court’s rejection of the Department’s illegal regulations,” said Craig Elliott, President of CARF and a recreational fishing lakes operator and fish farmer.  “This ruling ensures that freshwater fishing will continue to be an affordable and accessible form of recreation for California families and a source of jobs.  California anglers owe a debt of gratitude to PLF for championing our cause.”

The case is California Association for Recreational Fishing v. California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  More information, and the original complaint, may be found at PLF’s website: www.pacificlegal.org.

Additional information regarding the California Association for Recreational Fishing can be found at www.savecalfishing.org.

About Pacific Legal Foundation

Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations, in courts across the country.

# # viagrapill.com #

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CARF / PLF victory for recreational fishing http://www.savecalfishing.org/2015/04/10/carf-plf-victory-for-recreational-fishing/ Fri, 10 Apr 2015 23:02:35 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=547 This morning, the California Court of Appeal issued its long-awaited decision in California Association for Recreational Fishing v. Department of Fish & Wildlife. PLF represented California’s recreational fishing interests in a challenge to regulations adopted by the Department in an Environmental Impact Report it certified in 2010. The issue is that the Department is not permitted to adopt regulations …

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This morning, the California Court of Appeal issued its long-awaited decision in California Association for Recreational Fishing v. Department of Fish & Wildlife. PLF represented California’s recreational fishing interests in a challenge to regulations adopted by the Department in an Environmental Impact Report it certified in 2010. The issue is that the Department is not permitted to adopt regulations through an Environmental Impact Report. Regulations must be passed pursuant to the California Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

There are many reasons for the APA requirements. For one, the APA gives the regulated public a chance to review and comment on proposed regulations, so that they are not caught completely off-guard by regulations affecting them. Additionally, the APA requires agencies to identify the significant economic impacts that will result from a regulation. It also requires agencies to cite the statutory authority for a proposed 101meds.com regulation. The list goes on. In a nutshell, the APA assures that when an agency adopts a regulation, the interests that will be most affected have an opportunity to shape those regulations.  Here, the Department ignored the APA, adopted regulations without any of the procedural safeguards, and expected the recreational fishing interests to simply abide its commands…

Read the full post on the PLF blog.

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Western Outdoor News: Anglers win lawsuit — trout plants will continue http://www.savecalfishing.org/2015/02/24/western-outdoor-news-anglers-win-lawsuit-trout-plants-will-continue/ Tue, 24 Feb 2015 23:04:24 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=567 Courtesy of Western Outdoor News: SACRAMENTO — The California Third District Court of Appeals has struck down the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (DFW) illegally drafted permitting requirements on recreational freshwater fishing — regulations that threatened to decimate the $2.4 billion industry by driving fishing lakes, private hatcheries, and fish farms out of business. …

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Courtesy of Western Outdoor News:

SACRAMENTO — The California Third District Court of Appeals has struck down the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (DFW) illegally drafted permitting requirements on recreational freshwater fishing — regulations that threatened to decimate the $2.4 billion industry by driving fishing lakes, private hatcheries, and fish farms out of business.

“If the state had prevailed in court, many fishing lakes would have closed down due to extremely costly and onerous regulations,” said Marko Mlikotin, Executive Director of the California Association for Recreational Fishing. “No fishing lake operator can afford to shell out over $100,000 every one to five years for environmental studies and remain profitable. Fortunately, the court held the Department of Fish and Wildlife accountable for underground regulations that represented one of the greatest threats to freshwater fishing in years. Sadly, this wasn’t the only threat to keeping recreational fishing accessible and affordable.”

The ruling came in a lawsuit against the California Depart­ment of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), by Pacific Legal Foun­dation (PLF), representing the California Association for Recreational Fishing (CARF), a grass-roots organization of freshwater recreational fishermen and businesses that serve them. PLF represents CARF — as with all clients — free of charge.

Even though the state’s freshwater fish population is historically healthy, DFW devised a radical new mandate on hatcheries and stocking ponds. Before they could stock or raise any fish, DFW would have to determine that there would be no effect on dozens of arbitrarily-selected species — including species that are abundant and thriving in California.

This process would be so cumbersome and drawn out that it could effectively block many stocking ponds and hatcheries from continuing to operate.

PLF challenged the new requirements because they were drafted without public input, as mandated by the California Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA). In ruling for PLF and striking them down, the Third District agreed they are illegal “underground regulations” — i.e. the bureaucracy did not comply with CAPA’s requirements for public review and comments.

“This court ruling is a powerful victory for everyone who values recreational fishing opportunities, and for everyone who values openness and accountability in government,” said PLF Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Thompson. “The DFW concocted these radical regulations all on its own, without any request from the Legislature and without seeking public review and comment as state law requires. This court victory saves recreational fishing from out-of-control regulators and protects everyone’s rights by reminding bureaucrats they aren’t above the law.”

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Appeals Court rules against Fish and Wildlife in stocking case http://www.savecalfishing.org/2015/02/12/appeals-court-rules-against-fish-and-wildlife-in-stocking-case/ Thu, 12 Feb 2015 19:15:04 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=558 Courtesy of FishRap News: SACRAMENTO — The California Association for Recreational Fishing (CARF) received a favorable decision by a state appeals court Feb. 9, as a three-judge panel reversed a lower judge’s ruling and deemed a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) fish stocking policy was potentially burdensome. The ruling was issued almost three …

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Courtesy of FishRap News:

SACRAMENTO — The California Association for Recreational Fishing (CARF) received a favorable decision by a state appeals court Feb. 9, as a three-judge panel reversed a lower judge’s ruling and deemed a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) fish stocking policy was potentially burdensome.

The ruling was issued almost three months after attorneys for CARF and DFW presented oral arguments to the Third Appellate District Court in Sacramento.

Attorneys for CARF argued the state illegally drafted regulations that could have forced fishing lakes, private hatcheries and fish farms out of business. The Pacific Legal Foundation, who represented CARF, urged federal judges to protect recreational anglers and the aquaculture industry from “burdensome” regulations.

The appeals court ruled DFW’s mitigation measures imposed on private stocking permit applications were underground regulations and adopted “without complying with the notice and procedure requirements imposed by the [Administrative Procedure Act].”

“The department should hear from the general public, as well as the citizens who operate fish stocking businesses … who will be affected by [the mitigation measures], before it adopts and implements the measure,” the three-judge panel said.

In its appellate brief, CARF accused DFW of breaking the law and harming the public’s recreational fishing opportunities. CARF stated its legal petition was not about whether DFW had the authority to protect state waters but instead if the agency followed proper procedures in exercising its legislatively delegated authority.

“The California Department of Fish and Wildlife … violated the law by imposing burdensome regulations without complying with the procedures mandated by the California Administrative Procedure Act,” the CARF opening brief to the appellate court stated. “These ‘underground regulations’ significantly injure the aquatic industry and the public’s opportunity to engage in recreational fishing.”

The appeals court agreed with CARF’s contention and reversed a superior court decision.

Russell Hildreth, an environmental attorney with the Attorney General’s office in Sacramento, represented DFW in the appellate case.

The CARF decision was published Feb. 10 as part of a joint ruling. The appeals court also issued an opinion in the case of Center for Biological Diversity v. Department of Fish and Wildlife. DFW earned a favorable decision in that appeal, which challenged the department’s use of environmental impact reports (EIR) to analyze a statutorily mandated fish hatchery and stocking enterprise.

“An EIR need only ‘identify any alternatives that were considered by the lead agency but were rejected as infeasible during the scoping process and briefly explain the reasons underlying the lead agency’s determination.’ The EIR complied with this directive,” the three-judge panel ruled. “The department did not abuse its discretion in complying with … requirements for consideration of alternatives.”

Joshua Thompson, who represented CARF in the appeals court, said the ruling benefits anglers and ensures DFW must properly follow the process.

“The recreational fishing industry is very pleased with the outcome. They no longer have to suffer under regulations that were imposed upon them without any input,” Thompson said. “Any future regulations affecting the Fishing in the City Program or private fish stocking permits will have to go through the APA to carry the force of law. This decision ensures that if agencies try to covertly adopt regulations without seeking input from the regulated public and following the requirements of the APA, their actions will be declared illegal.”

Craig Elliott, CARF president and owner of Santa Ana River Lakes, Corona Lake and Anaheim Lake, said the ruling benefits anglers and fishing-related jobs.

“We could not be more pleased with the Appellate Court’s rejection of the Department’s illegal regulations,” Elliott said. “This ruling ensures that freshwater fishing will continue to be an affordable and accessible form of recreation for California families and a source of jobs. California anglers owe a debt of gratitude to PLF for championing our cause.”

Hildreth was not available for comment.

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California fishermen land court ruling http://www.savecalfishing.org/2015/02/11/california-fishermen-land-court-ruling/ Wed, 11 Feb 2015 17:51:30 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=554 In monumental decision, California 3rd District Court of Appeals rules for fish farmers, stocking Like a lot of government agencies, the California Fish and Wildlife Department has a tendency to turn crawfish over any lawsuit filed by groups who are intent on stopping fishing and hunting in this state by using the courts. Either the …

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In monumental decision, California 3rd District Court of Appeals rules for fish farmers, stocking

Like a lot of government agencies, the California Fish and Wildlife Department has a tendency to turn crawfish over any lawsuit filed by groups who are intent on stopping fishing and hunting in this state by using the courts.

Either the agency rolls over and gives the anti-hunting and fishing groups anything it wants or it overreacts and does more harm than can possibly be imagined. In the case of challenges to its regulations regarding stocking fish and fish-rearing businesses, it did both. It rolled over and did more harm. But this time it didn’t work.

On Tuesday, in a monumental ruling in favor of fishing, the California Third District Court of Appeals has “struck down the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s illegally drafted permitting requirements on recreational freshwater fishing — regulations that threatened to decimate the $2.4 billion industry by driving fishing lakes, private hatcheries, and fish farms out of business,” according to a release from the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented the California Association for Recreational Fishing (CARF) against the California Department of Fish and Wildlife…

Read the full article at UTSanDiego.com.

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PLF Appeals Decision Upholding Department of Fish and Game’s Illegal Fish Stocking Regulations http://www.savecalfishing.org/2013/02/04/plf-appeals-decision-upholding-department-of-fish-and-games-illegal-fish-stocking-regulations/ Mon, 04 Feb 2013 23:43:27 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=529 From the PLF Blog: Today, PLF filed an appeal on behalf of the California Association of Recreational Fishing, challenging regulations imposed illegally by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  These regulations threaten the ability of private hatcheries and private fishing lakes and ponds to remain in business.  They also deprive the people of the …

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From the PLF Blog:plf

Today, PLF filed an appeal on behalf of the California Association of Recreational Fishing, challenging regulations imposed illegally by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  These regulations threaten the ability of private hatcheries and private fishing lakes and ponds to remain in business.  They also deprive the people of the state, particularly urban children, of opportunities to fish.

As we’ve blogged before, the case arises out of an environmental impact report (EIR) that the Department prepared to determine the environmental effects of stocking fish in the state’s own hatcheries.  Yet the Report also radically changed the permitting process for private fish stocking.  Under California law, one must obtain a permit from the Department in order to stock fish, and the Department must grant the permit unless regulations adopted by the California Aquaculture Commission would prohibit the stocking.  In the EIR, the Department changed this regime by prohibiting all stocking which would have an adverse effect on “decision species.”  More than half of these so-called “decision species” are not listed under any statute or regulation, but were included by agency whim.  The EIR also requires private hatcheries to engage in continuous and expensive monitoring for invasive species, the results of which must be reported to the Department for use in its investigations and permitting decisions.

Under the California Administrative Procedure Act, agencies must follow notice and comment procedures before adopting regulations.  These procedures not only protect the people that will be subject to the regulation, but benefit everyone by ensuring that agencies only adopt regulations once the consequences have been brought to light.  Any regulation that is adopted without following these procedures is an “underground regulation” and void.

Here, the Department of Fish and Game failed to follow the notice and comment procedures when it adopted the fish stocking regulations in the EIR.  The court below excused its failure, finding that, because it was acting pursuant to “long-standing objectives of public policy,” the Department didn’t have to comply with the notice and comment procedures.  In our opening brief, we explain why these underground regulations cannot be excused for any reason, and certainly not for a reason as amorphous as “long-standing objectives of public policy.”  The Legislature, in enacting the Administrative Procedure Act, decided that the notice and comment procedures do not conflict with public policy.  The courts should not ignore this judgment.

If the Department had complied with the notice and comment procedures, it might have learned about the impacts that these new regulations would have on the private fishing industry.  According to CARF Board Member Craig Elliott, “The Court’s decision, if upheld on Appeal, will have a devastating economic impact on recreational fishing, aquaculture, jobs and tourism. [The] decision sends a message to Californians that unelected bureaucrats, and not the State Legislature, can develop regulations with no public oversight.  That’s not going to sit well with a public that seems to be losing its freedoms and liberties on a daily basis.  There are times in life when you must fight, and this is one of those times; fishing is as American as apple pie.”

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Lawsuit Update http://www.savecalfishing.org/2013/02/04/lawsuit-update/ Mon, 04 Feb 2013 21:09:00 +0000 http://savecalfishing.epsilonfinancial.com/?p=362 Last September, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the California Department of Fish and Game, allowing the State to implement overly excessive and costly fish stocking regulations. The economic analysis shows that the new regulations will impact over 4,000 California lakes and reservoirs, and over 20,000 ponds – including golf courses and …

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Last September, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the California Department of Fish and Game, allowing the State to implement overly excessive and costly fish stocking regulations. The economic analysis shows that the new regulations will impact over 4,000 California lakes and reservoirs, and over 20,000 ponds – including golf courses and Koi ponds, both under the broad legal definition of what is a “Water of the State”! The analysis concluded that what was once a $53 fish stocking fee could cost some lake operators and water districts over $100,000 in environmental assessments! Yes, costs so high that no lake operator would even consider staying in businesses.

This is why these regulations were unanimously rejected by the California Fish and Game Commission in December, 2011. Unfortunately this did not deter the department from defending the regulations in court. Remember, a coalition made up of over 60 organizations representing sport fishing, small business, restaurants, local government and the outdoor tourism industry shared our concerns that $3 billion in regulatory costs will cripple freshwater fishing in California.

We have fought the Department for the last couple years with the help of supporters like you and the Pacific Legal Foundation. Please join our organization so we can continue the fight for increased access in California!

Click here for an article about the regulations that would have cost thousands of dollars per lake, and jobs! Click here to read an article about the adverse effects this court ruling will have!

Click here for an economic analysis.

Click here to read the court ruling.

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Fish and Game Permit Proposal Roils Private California Lake Owners http://www.savecalfishing.org/2012/09/30/fish-and-game-permit-proposal-roils-private-california-lake-owners/ http://www.savecalfishing.org/2012/09/30/fish-and-game-permit-proposal-roils-private-california-lake-owners/#respond Sun, 30 Sep 2012 21:02:33 +0000 http://www.savecalfishing.org/?p=446 Operators of private fish ponds and lakes around the state say a recent court ruling could saddle them with devastating costs and potentially force some out of business. The Sept. 19 ruling by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly allows the state’s Department of Fish and Game to proceed with plans to require fish pond …

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Operators of private fish ponds and lakes around the state say a recent court ruling could saddle them with devastating costs and potentially force some out of business.

The Sept. 19 ruling by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly allows the state’s Department of Fish and Game to proceed with plans to require fish pond owners to obtain permits for their operations. The new permitting requirement would apply to 4,000 lakes and 20,000 ponds in California.

Pond and lake owners would have to pay an as-yet-undetermined fee to obtain a permit. Some would also have to conduct an environmental review to show that their fish would not invade other bodies of water and cause harm to native fish or animals. Fish and Game also proposes to require them to provide a certificate stating that their fish are pathogen free.

Fish pond operators say those requirements are too onerous.

“The (court) ruling is just not prudent,” said Ken Beer, owner of the Fishery – a Galt-based fish farm that has four locations and grows sturgeon, catfish and carp. Beer supplies live fish to more than 60 Asian live markets as well as local restaurants in the Sacramento region.

He said the proposed requirement that fish be certified as disease-free would be particularly difficult to meet.

“We would have to go out and find the company to do that certification –and right now there are few labs that can do it,” he said. “It would be like going to the city of Los Angeles and certifying that everyone there is disease-free.”

The permitting is meant to safeguard a list of 89 “decision” native animal species, each of which may come under threat depending on what kind of fish a landowner decides to stock in a pond or lake.

Fish and Game proposed the new regulations after environmental groups filed lawsuits arguing that the department was not adequately evaluating the potential impact on native fish species reared in its own hatcheries. The department responded with new rules for the hatcheries – and is now proposing new scrutiny for private lakes and ponds as well.

In a court filing, the department argues that protecting native fish and animals is of the “utmost public interest.”

The department’s proposed permitting program, which still must be approved by the state Fish and Game Commission, would apply to 37 counties, most of them in the Central Valley, including Sacramento County.

Lake and pond owners in those counties currently are not required to pay any permitting fee to stock fish.

Fish pond and lake operators in the state’s remaining counties – mostly in the mountains and along the coast – already are required to obtain permits, which now cost $53. There is no environmental assessment required.

Fish pond owners in the Central Valley say they’re worried that it will be expensive to comply with the proposed permitting requirements, because they may have to pay for an environmental assessment that could cost thousands of dollars.

The permitting process will likely be required every five years.

For some, the costs could run into six figures, predicted Marko Mlikotin, spokesman for the California Association for Recreational Fishing.

To help make its case, the fishing industry group hired Pasadena-based Sapphos Environmental, a consulting firm, to gauge what such permitting would cost for four different-size lakes.

The firm concluded that conducting an environmental analysis would cost the owner of Dixon Lake, near San Diego, $181,086. Closer to home, 8-acre Knickerbocker Lake in Lincoln would incur costs of $46,515 to satisfy permitting requirements, the report said.

“This will have a devastating impact on recreational fishing and outdoor tourism, and on businesses as well as local government sales tax,” CARF’s Mlikotin said.

Fish and Game officials say the cost of permitting will not be as heavy as the industry contends, because only a portion of ponds and lakes will be required to conduct environmental reviews.

“The department disputes CARF’s estimate,” said Fish and Game spokesman Mike Taugher.

Beer, though, contends that the permitting requirement could eventually cause some fish farms to go out of business, and so reduce the amount of fresh fish available to diners in the Sacramento area.

“Most of the fish grown in private fish farms, except for trout, are sold for food – and almost all of it is sold and consumed locally,” he said.

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