Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Senate approves bill for fisheries restoration

SACRAMENTO – The State Senate gave final approval on Tuesday to Senate Bill 562, legislation by North Coast Sen. Patricia Wiggins (D-Santa Rosa) to designate nearly $5.3 million in urgent funding for coastal salmon and steelhead fisheries restoration projects.


The Assembly approved SB 562 on March 24, so Tuesday's 27-10 Senate vote means the bill will soon be on the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his consideration. SB 562 is an urgency measure, meaning the bill will take effect immediately upon signing by the governor.


If signed into law, the Wiggins bill would allocate $5.293 million in Proposition 84 funds to the state Department of Fish and Game, which would use the funding for its coastal salmon and steelhead fishery restoration efforts. Voters approved Prop. 84 - the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act in 2006.


In addition, Wiggins said that enactment of SB 562 will allow the state to leverage up to $20 million federal dollars for salmon this spring.


"Every week adds a new development to our burgeoning salmon crisis," Wiggins noted after today's Senate floor vote.


In presenting SB 562 before her colleagues, she said that "we have all seen the recent headlines regarding salmon in California: 'Fishermen fear lost salmon season'; 'Officials warn of salmon population collapse'; 'Regulators Could Close West Coast Salmon Fishing This Year.'


"This is bill is about this legislature taking action to protect California's $100 million dollar salmon industry," Wiggins added. She later stressed that the industry extends beyond fishermen to include tackle shops, processors, ice suppliers, restaurants and tourism.


SB 562 is supported by a diverse group, including the California Farm Bureau Federation, Association of California Water Agencies, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishmen, the Karuk Tribe, CalTrout, the Sonoma County Water Agency and the Sierra Club.


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