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February 04, 2016    Headlines

Crab Season On Hold
Rockfish Munching at the Islands

Crab Domoic Levels Continue to Drop / Some Ports Still Show High DA Levels
February 4th 2016
For the first time in the past month the California Department of Public Health has finally released new lab results of Dungeness crab domoic acid levels of North Coast ports.
This has been frustrating to say the least with no lab results posted for ports from Bodega Bay to Crescent City since the end of December. Weather was the main reason for the delay but why does it take 7 to 9 days to post the results after the crabs have been turned over to CDPH?
Here on 2-4 the CDPH released results from Crescent City, Eureka, Trinidad, Ft Bragg, Bodega Bay and Half Moon Bay and San Francisco. Most of these tests are from the week of January 21 to 26 but were only published in the past two days.
Some of the highlights are:
Most ports saw the average of domoic acid in all crabs tested continues to drop. Some ports tested clean while others saw up to a third still testing above the federal guideline of 30ppm.
Half Moon Bay and San Francisco both AGAIN tested clean. Off Bodega Bay results were clean off Bodega Bay and the Russian river but the Salt Point test returned two crabs just above the federal guidelines.
Fort Bragg was a problem spot and the only port where we saw the average level of DA climb with DA levels as high as 81ppm in a single crab. Results like this, where one or two samples are far higher than most is the reason that the crab season remains closed.
Eureka saw their best results yet with clean crabs found off Samoa and the Eel River.
Crescent City also had a far lower average DA levels in all tests but results showed two crabs that were just over the action level.
After the results were posted in late December I was far too optimistic calling for a February 1st opener. Considering the small numbers of crabs being tested and the fluctuating results (where we see a clean test then crabs testing above guidelines a few weeks later) I am beginning to wonder if we will see a sport or commercial season anytime soon. 

Readers can see the latest results from the CDPH  here.


Great news for the incoming class of the California Outdoor’s Hall of Fame. It was announced in today’s San Francisco Chronicle that Captain Roger Thomas of the Salty Lady will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, January 23rd at the California Sportsmen’s Theater at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition.

The following is from Tom Stienstra’s announcement today from the Chronicle.
‘Roger Thomas of San Francisco, who has spent more than 10,000 days on the ocean chasing salmon, albacore and whales on his boat the Salty Lady — and who crusaded for salmon and water interests for 40 years — was named on 60 percent of the ballots and will also be inducted.
A posthumous award will be awarded to Larry Green, formerly of Dunsmuir, the renowned radio show host on KCBS, writer with Field & Stream and avid angler who taught thousands how to fish.”
Anybody can nominate a candidate for the Hall of Fame. The award is based on a vote of past winners and leaders in the outdoor industry, media and government. All candidates must fill two requirements: The nominees must have inspired thousands of Californians to take part in the great outdoors and/or conservation, and the nominees must have taken part in a paramount scope of adventures. More information is available at’

More Salmon Headed Our Way thanks to Salmon Stamp Fund, GGSA Legislative Efforts
Hatchery production will increase by another two million fish in 2016

San Francisco  -- Salmon fishermen should enjoy better fishing in a few years due to an extra two million salmon smolts that will be raised and released in 2016.  The extra two million hatchery fish will be bred at the Mokelumne and Feather River hatcheries.  The Salmon Stamp fund, created by a fee commercial salmon trollers and charter boat operators pay into, will pay 50 percent of the cost with the other 50 percent coming from the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife to produce the fish. 
“All salmon fishermen and related businesses owe a big thanks to the Salmon Stamp committee for stepping up to pay for these extra fish which we’ll all benefit from in a few years,” said GGSA executive director John McManus.  “More salmon in the ocean will help our coastal communities in the near future, especially in light of the hit we’ve taken from the drought.”
“Commercial salmon fishermen and charter boat owners pay to make the fishery better and we’re happy to see the money going to produce more salmon,” said Salmon Stamp committee member and Half Moon Bay commercial salmon troller Jim Anderson.
The move to expand hatchery production comes after the Golden Gate Salmon Association’s policy advocate worked through State Senator Mike McGuire’s and Assemblyman Jim Wood’s offices to introduced legislation in the state legislature calling for the extra fish.  That legislation was later withdrawn after the California Department of Fish and Wildlife vowed it would find half of the money needed and work with the commercial Salmon Stamp fund to secure the rest.  The troller’s and charter boat representative agreed to provide $394,000 in 2016 from the Salmon Stamp fund to produce a total of four million “enhancement” fish.  These are “extra” hatchery salmon over and above what the hatchery is required to produce to mitigate for the loss of historic salmon habitat above dams.  The hatcheries regularly produced four million enhancement fish until 2007 when that number dropped to two million, where it’s been ever since.
“Our ability through the Salmon Stamp committee for pay for extra salmon shows what’s possible when we all contribute to keeping our fishery going.  Likewise, we need our fishermen to pay their assessments to their local marketing associations to keep our industry going,” said Monterey based troller and Salmon Stamp committee member Mike Ricketts.  “It’s the marketing associations that send a representative to help us steer where Salmon Stamp funds are spent.”  
The trollers and charter boat members of Salmon Stamp agreed to pay on the condition that all of the fish would be trucked and net pen acclimated in the bay to maximize survival.  The cost of producing these extra fish is expensive because 25 percent of them are fin clipped and tagged with coded wire tags. 
GGSA is exploring a long term alternative way to pay for the four million enhancement fish since Salmon Stamp funds are limited.  GGSA is talking to state officials and Salmon Stamp committee members to find a way to continue this funding.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.


Special to The Bee

After yet another revision, the governor’s plan to build twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta still makes no economic sense. A closer look at the three types of economic benefits claimed for the project to export water to Central Valley farms and Southern California cities shows why it can’t possibly justify its estimated $15 billion cost. In each case, I give a value derived directly from the optimistic estimates of the state’s consultants and a more intuitive comparison.

Water supply: The latest numbers estimate the tunnels will increase water exports south of the Delta by an annual average of 257,000 acre-feet, with no increase in drought years when it is needed most. The cumulative value of that water supply over 50 years is $2 billion to $3 billion.
For comparison, San Diego’s new desalination plant will provide 56,000 acre-feet of drought-proof water for a capital cost of $1 billion. Desalination is the most costly water supply alternative, but it still provides more than three times the water supply per dollar invested than the Delta tunnels.

Water quality: Because the tunnels would divert higher-quality water from the Sacramento River, the salt and other contaminants in export water supply could decrease by 20 percent. It’s estimated that this could have a cumulative value to water exporters of as much as $2 billion over 50 years.
However, it is important to remember that the tunnels aren’t a water treatment or desalination plant that purifies water. Thus, the water exporter’s gain in water quality will be offset by degraded water quality elsewhere, a concern that is at the center of opposition in the five Delta counties and environmental concerns raised by the EPA and others.

Seismic risk: Listening to the governor, earthquake protection is the main economic argument. But the state’s experts estimated seismic-risk reduction to water exports was only worth a cumulative $400 million over 50 years. Why is this value so low? First, it is a very low probability event even in the most pessimistic models. Second, the outage to water exports isn’t as bad as you hear in TV commercials. Department of Water Resources Director Mark Cowin correctly described it as “weeks or months” in a recent media call, not years. In a worst-case earthquake scenario, the tunnels might prevent 2 million to 3 million acre-feet in lost water exports, a costly but manageable shortage. For comparison, the current drought has cut surface water supplies to farms and cities by more than 10 million acre-feet.
The earthquake argument is not only economically wrong, it is morally outrageous. The real damage from what some call California’s Katrina would be death and destruction in the Delta itself. The state’s model of this tragedy shows hundreds could die and that 80 percent of the economic damage was from the loss of property and infrastructure in the Delta.
It’s shocking that the state’s response to this are water tunnels that protect only 20 percent of the economic loss and zero percent of the life loss. Levee upgrades are much cheaper and reduce risks for all Californians.
In sum, the economic benefits of the tunnels to the water exporters total about $5 billion of its $15 billion cost, and the benefit-cost ratio is even worse when the negative impacts to the Delta and risks to the environment and upstream interests are considered.
Support among water exporters has been steadily eroding as the economic and financial shortcomings of the plan become better understood.
A few years ago, the state tried to shore up its economic argument by attaching a huge value to the hope of 50-year regulatory protection from the Endangered Species Act, and incorrectly attributing habitat restoration benefits to the tunnels. After heavy criticism, the latest revision to the tunnels plan eliminates the 50-year regulatory assurance and separates environmental restoration. The plan’s already flimsy economic rationale evaporated with this correction.
It is increasingly clear that there are less divisive alternatives that provide more economic and environmental value than the tunnels. No amount of tweaking can save what is fundamentally a bad idea. It’s time to move on.

Jeffrey Michael, an economist, is director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific. Read his blog at
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Regulations for the MLPAs are now in effect from Pt Arena to Pigeon Point. Anglers need to know which areas are affected and the regulations and the boundaries of the different zones. Please use this link and be sure to print a map for these areas to carry with you.

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Golden Gate Salmon Association

Golden Gate Fishermen's Association

Party Boat Contacts:
The Emeryville Sportfishing Center is currently booking salmon and potluck trips begin in late April. They have a great promotion that when you take six trips your "lucky" seventh trip is free. This is good on any of their boats. Reservations can be made at 510 654-6040.

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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46026

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