By Peter Fimrite |
January 15, 2016 | Updated: January 15, 2016 4:34pm
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Ryan McCoy checks the shotguns of hunters during daily patrols on the California Delta near Brentwood, Calif. on Sat. January 9, 2016, Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Ryan McCoy checks the shotguns of hunters during daily patrols on the California Delta near Brentwood, Calif. on Sat. January 9, 2016,
The sudden resignation of the most adamant defender of hunting and fishing on the California Fish and Game Commission could put the finishing touches on a sweeping philosophical shift in the way the state views wildlife, sets rules for fishing and controls predators like mountain lions and wolves.
Chaos at Fish & Game
Photo taken Sept. 30, 2015 shows one of the offspring of ex-California wolf OR-7. The photo was taken in the Southern Oregon Cascade Mountains.
Wolf conservation plan drawn up for California
In this photo taken Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015, crab pots fill a large section of a parking lot at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, Calif. California has delayed the Nov. 15 start of its commercial crab season after finding dangerous levels of a toxin in crabs. Officials in Oregon and Washington are testing crab samples and will decide soon whether to open its coastal season by Dec. 1 as planned. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Sour talk as lawmakers, crabbers meet over Dungeness shutdown
A bobcat with a severe case of ringworm is being rehabilitated at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Monday August 10, 2015 in Petaluma, Calif. California wildlife advocates like the staff at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue are celebrating the ban on bobcat trapping and are now setting their sights on protecting other species like foxes and coyotes.
Wildlife advocates expand target after bobcat ban
Commissioner Jim Kellogg retired in late December in frustration over what he termed a lack of consideration for the sportsmen and women he represents. The resignation — combined with the unrelated recent departures of commission President Jack Baylis and Sonke Mastrup, the commission’s executive director — sets the stage for Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint conservationists to the increasingly pivotal state board.
Such a move may, observers say, complete the transformation of the commission from an organization that advocates for fishing and hunting to one that safeguards endangered species, preserves habitat and protects California’s top predators from slaughter.
But it won’t happen without a fight. While environmentalists say they are finally getting a fair shake in the high-stakes political game of wildlife management, advocates for outdoor sports fear they have lost their voice and that the role they have played in the protection of species is being forgotten.
The five-member commission, whose job is to recommend policies to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, has been wading through divisive issues that could profoundly impact the future of the state, including what to do about diminishing salmon populations, sick sea lions and disappearing sea otters.