A new state bill proposal, AB-3030, was passed by the assembly and will be voted on by the state senate. If passed the bill says it “would declare it to be the goals of the state by 2030 to protect at least 30% of the state’s land areas and waters.” But it’s the wording of that statement that has anglers and hunters a bit concerned about just how that could potentially eliminate fishing waters and hunting lands for California sportsmen and -women.
Longtime Northern California guide J.D. Richey led a live Facebook discussion on the proposed on Wednesday night that’s worth a listen (they also discussed the potential for altering striped bass slot limit regulations that will be discussed at the California Fish and Game Commission on June 25).
“While this bill is aimed to protect lands and waters, AB-3030 in California seems to miss the mark,” said Aoibheann Cline, the Western states’ coordinator for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.
“Sportsmen and -women – hunters, anglers – we’re the first people to step up for conserving our national resources … and making sure that we have the opportunity to fish and hunt for generations and generations and generations to come. However, this bill seems to be a little bit less of a conservation bill and more of a preservation bill.”
And that’s a big sticking point about the details of what the bill would implement and how it would affect outdoor opportunities. Policy strategist Mark Smith noted that efforts have been made to reach out to the sponsors of the bill – including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Defenders of Wildlife and Audubon California – with potential amendments from what it states now, but they have yet to hear back for some clarification and analysis.
“That has us concerned. I feel like we’re being stonewalled,” says Smith of Smith Policy Group.
The American Sportfishing Association also released a statement against AB-3030’s passing. Here’s a portion of ASA’s statement:
The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and other sportfishing groups are concerned about the broad and sweeping nature of the bill, which cleared the California State Assembly last week and now awaits consideration by the state Senate.
“Even outside California, we need to be watching this closely,” said Danielle Cloutier, ASA’s Pacific Fisheries Policy director. “We’re seeing signs that this policy is being taken under consideration in other states and in Congress. ASA is actively working alongside its partners in California to oppose this bill as it currently stands and to seek changes that would clarify that no unnecessary closures to recreational fishing would result from this bill.”
ASA is promoting an action alert, pasted below, for all anglers in California to register their concerns with their State Senator. Please help us spread the word about this far-reaching bill by sharing this link with your California contacts. https://www.votervoice.net/KAF/campaigns/74786/respond
ASA also provides a website to contact your local state senator to voice concerns over the exact impact a passed AB-3030 would have on fishing and hunting: https://keepamericafishing.org/action-center/.
You can also check out congressionalsportsmen.org, which includes a column from Cline, in which she writes:
The sportsmen’s community as a whole remains very concerned about the broad and sweeping nature of the bill and its ambiguity. California has arguably the most stringent environmental protection laws already in place to conserve our natural resources and it is not clear if those areas will be included in the bill’s 30% goal, or if the bill intends to protect an additional 30%, which would threaten significant hunting and fishing access. Further restricting recreational hunting and angling opportunities could set the stage for another contentious fight, such as during the Marine Life Protection Act process, where vast areas of California’s coastline were closed indefinitely to recreational fishing in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
The bill was introduced by California state assembly member Ash Kalra (AD-27, San Jose).