BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                            Senator Kevin de León, Chair


          AB 165 (Gaines) - Commercial fishing: crayfish.
          
          Amended: June 15, 2013          Policy Vote: NR&W 9-0
          Urgency: No                     Mandate: No
          Hearing Date: July 1, 2013      Consultant: Marie Liu
          
          This bill does not meet the criteria for referral to the  
          Suspense File.
          
          
          Bill Summary: AB 165 would allow commercial fishing of crayfish  
          in Lake Tahoe for the primary purpose of population reduction  
          and control of the signal crayfish.

          Fiscal Impact: 
              One-time costs of $31,000 to the Fish and Game Preservation  
              Fund (special) to the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW)  
              and the Fish and Game Commission (FGC) for CEQA costs and  
              regulation development.
              Ongoing costs of approximately $18,000 from the Fish and  
              Game Preservation Fund (special) for increased enforcement  
              and fishery monitoring.

          Background: The signal crayfish is a thoroughly established  
          nonnative species to Lake Tahoe region. The crayfish was  
          intentionally introduced to the lake and region in the 1800s as  
          a food source, both for people and for introduced fish species.   
          Today, there are an estimated 220 million crayfish in Lake  
          Tahoe.  

          Crayfish are a critical part of Lake Tahoe's ecosystem, though  
          of questionable value.  They provide food to fish species,  
          including invasive bass. They also contribute to algae  
          production near shore, which diminishes Lake Tahoe's clarity.  
          Reduction of crayfish number, or their eradication, may have a  
          significant effect on the lakes' plant and animal life and  
          aesthetic quality.

          In 2011, Nevada amended its regulations to allow for the  
          commercial take of crayfish from the Nevada-side of the lake. At  
          least five businesses have received commercial crayfish permits  
          from the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Tahoe Regional  








          AB 165 (Gaines)
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          Planning Agency.

          Section 1050 of the Fish and Game Code allows for the FGC to  
          establish a fee for the issuance of any license or permit,  
          unless explicitly prohibited statutorily. The fee must be  
          sufficient to recover all reasonable administrative and  
          implementation costs of DFW and FGC 

          Proposed Law: This bill would delete the prohibition on the  
          commercial take of crayfish from Lake Tahoe and would explicitly  
          allow the commercial taking for the primary purpose of  
          population reduction and control. The commercial taking must be  
          consistent with the state goals for management of invasive  
          species and an environmental analysis conducted by the  
          California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

          Related Legislation: AB 2504 (Gaines) in 2012 was substantially  
          similar to this bill. AB 2504 was placed on the inactive file on  
          the Assembly Floor at the author's request.

          Staff Comments: Existing law now allows the FGC to establish  
          reasonable fees associated with the issuance of a license or  
          permit. Should this bill pass, the FGC could enact a commercial  
          crayfish permit to cover both the ongoing and one-time costs  
          associated with this bill. Assuming eight commercial permits are  
          issued, the annual permit costs would be $3,125 annually to  
          cover the ongoing costs. There would be an additional fee of  
          approximately $4,000 the first year to cover the one-time costs,  
          although it is possible for this cost to be spread over several  
          years.

          Staff notes that the FGC would not be required to enact permit  
          fees by this bill or existing statute and could allow the  
          commercial take of crayfish without imposing a fee. Should there  
          be no permit fee established, the costs would have to be  
          absorbed by the Fish and Game Preservation Fund. 

          Recommended Amendments: This bill makes a reference to the  
          California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency instead of the Tahoe  
          Regional Planning Agency. This reference should be corrected.












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