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November 08, 2017    Headlines

Crab Season Opens
Invest In YOUR Salmon Future

The crabbing is excellent and all party boats are reporting full pots off the Golden Gate. Emeryville had two boats out on Tuesday 11-7. Both the New Salmon Queen and Sea Wolf each reported 28 limits of big commercial grade crabs adding a combined 520 rockfish and 21 lings to 13 pounds. Boats have been fishing both at the Islands and the Marin coast for rockfish and the crab gear is scatted from Middle Grounds to N buoy. We expect a few more weeks of easy limits (wx permitting) due to the high counts. The commercial season gets underway on November 15th put there are plenty of crabs so limits will remain the rule into December. Emeryville has room daily for crab combos.
This writer is chasing elk out of state until Thanksgiving. Readers can check out daily scores on the Emeryville website. 
The weather was drop dead gorgeous on Monday 11-6 with sunshine and just a five foot swell and winds under 8 knots. Party boats from around the Bay are all reporting limits of rockfish and stuffed crabs pots. Our long time sponsor (who makes this site possible) the Emeryville Sport Center reported BIG counts again today. The Huck Finn reported 35 limits of crabs and rockfish adding 17 lings. The Sea Wolf reported 28 limits of both crabs and rockies adding twelve lings. The  Salmon Queen reported 28 limits of crabs and rockfish and added 5 lings. The ESC has limited room available but readers need to plan ahead to book trips for this very popular fishery.

Party boats got off to an excellent start to the Dungeness crab season. It's still just mid afternoon and scores of full limits are already coming in. Out of Emeryville the New Huck Finn had 28 limits of crabs, 28 limits of rockfish and 8 lings. The Sea Wolf had limits of both rockfish and crabs for 29 anglers adding two lings. The Tigerfish reported 21 limits of rockfish. We will add more scores later today. Overall most boats are fishing the Islands for rockfish and the 125 to 200 feet for the crabs. Considering that many boats dropped pots on the way out the crab counts are excellent at 15 or more per pot. The weather was a tad rolly and breezy but the forecast calls for good conditions the next few days. Emeryville has some limited spots for crab rockfish combo and straight rockfish trips this week.

As the salmon season winds down the rockfish are chomping and many party and private boats are gearing up for the upcoming crab opener. On Sunday 10-27 Emeryville had two boats out. Both the New Huck Finn and Sea Wolf ran to the Islands. The Huck Finn reported 34 limits of rockfish adding 23 lings to 12 pounds. The Sea Wolf had 22 anglers who landed limits of rockfish and 34 lings to 15 pounds. Party boats are filled for the opening weekend of the Dungeness crab season but many boats have lots of space weekdays. The opener gets all the hype but for anglers who want to avoid the crowds and actually look at a weather forecast..... waiting a few days can pay off. Emeryville is booking crab combos through December.

This is the final few days of the 2017 salmon season and the fish are still chomping. On Tuesday 10-24 on his last open trip of the season Jared Davis on the Salty Lady reported solid action. Trolling off the Marin Coast his 10 anglers landed 10 fish to the low 20 pound class. Jared said they lost at least 6 to 7 other opportunities and if luck had gone their way a much higher score. Out of Emeryville on Sunday 10-22 the New Huck Finn reported 17 limits of rockfish and 8 lings and the Sea Wolf had 26 limits of rockfish and 6 lings.
The Salty Lady is full with charters for the balance of the week. Emeryville has lots of space for rockfish and bay trips. Everyone is looking forward to the Dungeness crab opener on November 4th. Party boats are full opening day but Emeryville has room weekdays the first week of the season.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announces new restrictions on recreational fishing for groundfish in waters north of Point Conception to the Oregon/California border. Changes to authorized fishing depths described below take effect Monday, Oct. 16 at 12:01 a.m., and will remain in place through the remainder of 2017.

The recreational groundfish fishery depth restrictions will be as follows:

  Northern Management Area (Oregon/California border to Cape Mendocino): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth. The 'all-depth' groundfish fishery slated for November and December 2017 in this area is canceled.

  Mendocino Management Area (Cape Mendocino to Point Arena): Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth. The 'all-depth' groundfish fishery slated for November and December 2017 in this area is canceled.

  San Francisco Management Area (Point Arena to Pigeon Point): Take is prohibited seaward of the 30 fathom depth contour (180 feet).

  Central Management Area (Pigeon Point to Point Conception): Take is prohibited seaward of the 40 fathom depth contour (240 feet).

  Southern Management Area (Point Conception to the US/Mexico border): Take is prohibited seaward of the 60 fathom depth contour (360 feet). No changes are slated for this area.

The 20 fathom depth restriction is described by the general depth contour (California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 14, Section 27.20(a)). The 30, 40 and 60 fathom depth contours are defined by straight lines connecting the waypoints as adopted in federal regulations (Code of Federal Regulations Title 50, part 660, subpart G).

Based on recent bycatch estimates for yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) from the California sport fishery, CDFW projects that the harvest guideline specified in federal regulation for 2017 (3.9 metric tons) will be exceeded unless changes are made. Pursuant to CCR Title 14, Section

27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make modifications to the fishery to avoid exceeding the limit, and must issue notice of any changes at least 10 days in advance of the effective date.

Yelloweye rockfish is a long-lived, slow-growing shelf rockfish species that was declared overfished in 2002 and cannot be retained in the recreational fishery. It is currently managed under a strict federal rebuilding plan that has required significant cutbacks to West Coast sport and commercial fisheries for more than a decade, to allow the population to recover.

Although fishing for rockfish and other groundfish will remain open through the end of the year, CDFW urges anglers to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur (for example rocky outcrops and pinnacles). If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management, stock status, fish identification tools, and current catch trends, please visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish website. For further information about how depth limits are defined, read this article published on the CDFW Marine Management News blogsite earlier this year. 

Unpacking Real Costs of California WaterFix
Stockton, CA — Delta tunnels opposition researchers have discovered a draft analysis dated September 15, 2017 of CA WaterFix costs completed by the Kern County Water Agency posted at the Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District.
This recent Kern County analysis provides a comprehensive review of how expensive the Delta tunnels project would be for Kern County farmers, and elucidates more realistic cost numbers for State Water Project Contractors than those touted by Metropolitan Water District. (You can also read the document at Restore the Delta’s website.)
Researchers found that:

• Total WaterFix costs are estimated at $32.1 billion to $41.4 billion over 50 years; however, Kern County Water Agency only looked at interest rates of 3.55% or 3.88%. Higher interest rates would result in significantly higher total costs. These costs do not include potential cost overruns. (Page 72).

• Computations in 2033 dollars show that dividing the maximum capital costs by the average water supply yield results in an estimated cost range of $888 per acre-foot of water to $1427 per acre-foot of water for Kern County Water Agency water users. Using 2017 dollars, the price is discounted to $553 to $889 per acre-foot. (Page 76).

• Kern’s total costs range from $4.9B to $7B, and annual costs range from $153.9M to $247.5M (page 73)

Restore the Delta executive director Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla noted,
“Water this costly would cut deeply into profit margins for smaller farms within the Kern County Water Agency service area, and even the profits of big industrial farms like Stewart Resnick’s Paramount Farms. It is feasible that the real end-goal is for urban ratepayers within the Kern service area and Metropolitan Water District to subsidize the project, or that Kern County Water Agency could resell a portion of water back to Metropolitan Water District to make enough revenue to cover bond repayment.”
Prior to Westlands Water District’s withdrawal from California WaterFix, Kern County Water Agency projected that their cost share would be 24.23% of the State Water Project’s 55% share, or 13.33% of the total costs. (Page 71).
Barrigan-Parrilla added,
“It will be worth noting in the weeks ahead if KWCA will redo the math minus the Central Valley Project contribution of 45% to total costs, or if they will pretend that nothing has changed. It seems unlikely to us that farmers, who are businessmen first, would ignore this significant change in contribution percentages in the same way that Metropolitan Water District staff failed to acknowledge the loss of 45% of total project funding in their workshop to their Board of Directors on September 26, 2017. (All available workshop materials and presentations can be found here.) For farmers, such calculations are necessary to determine their bottom line.”
Prior to Westlands September 19th vote, KCWA estimated their total contribution to fall within a cost range of $4.9 to $7 billion, about double the $4 billion number (in 2017 dollars) that MWD continues to state publicly, even though KCWA would receive about half the amount of water that MWD would receive. (Page 73).
Barrigan-Parrilla concluded,
“WaterFix does not pencil out for agriculture without a huge taxpayer subsidy from the State or Federal Government, and increased contributions from Metropolitan Water District and Silicon Valley water rate payers.”

“Millions of Californians on hook for water plan”
Read at our website.

Today, The Associated Press published a story confirming rumors of “expanded funding demands” for the Delta Tunnels proposal. New documents obtained by the Associated Press reveal that dozens of local agencies representing millions of Californians may be required to pay for the tunnels, even though they have not been asked to participate in the project, nor would they receive the “supply reliability” benefits promised to CA WaterFix participants. This follows years of assurances from the Brown Administration that only local water agencies actively participating in the tunnels would be the paying for them.
A telling quote from Santa Clara Valley Water District board director Richard Santos reveals that State Water Project contractors have been pressured into participating in the tunnels project.

Ellen Knickmeyer and Scott Smith write, 
“Asked if California intended to cut off state water deliveries to those districts that refuse to help pay for the tunnels, Lien-Mager said only ‘opting out would not affect their existing contracts, but their actual water supplies from the SWP could become less reliable in the future.’
That message has begun trickling out as water agencies around the state decide whether to raise rates to pay for the tunnels.
‘That’s what we’re being informed — our contract ends if we don’t participate,’ said Richard Santos, a board member of the Santa Clara Valley water district, which supplies water to Silicon Valley.
If it plays out that way, Santos said, he will fight. ‘If they say they’ll cut off our allocations if we don’t participate, then let the courts take it on,’ he said.”
To read the entire story, click here.

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