Fishing Groups Oppose S. 2533
West Coast fishing organizations are reacting to introduction of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s latest attempt at a drought relief bill for California, S. 2533, otherwise known as the “California Long-Term Provisions for Water Supply and Short-Term Provisions for Emergency Drought Relief Act.” The bill takes a step back from Senator Feinstein’s 2015 bill in its protections for salmon rivers and the industry that depends on them. Accordingly, several fishing groups have come out against the bill, including the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, the Golden Gate Salmon Association, the Coastal Trollers Association, and Bob Borck of the F/V Belle J out of Eureka.
Primary opposition to the bill stems from its failure to provide any measure of drought relief for the fishing industry, or protections for Sacramento River fall run chinook, the salmon run on which that industry relies. Instead, the bill directs salmon river managers to maximize water exports to San Joaquin Valley industrial irrigators, weakens the 2009 salmon Biological Opinion that protects endangered winter run salmon which can constrain the commercial fishery when abundance is low, and provides for the construction of new dams when California should be focused on water recycling, conservation and efficiency to deal with the drought.