BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



                                                                            



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                                    THIRD READING


          Bill No:  AB 165
          Author:   Beth Gaines (R)
          Amended:  7/8/13 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES AND WATER COMMITTEE  :  9-0, 6/11/13
          AYES:  Pavley, Cannella, Evans, Fuller, Hueso, Jackson, Lara,  
            Monning, Wolk
           
          SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 7/1/13
          AYES:  De León, Walters, Gaines, Hill, Lara, Steinberg
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Padilla
           
          ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 5/9/13 - See last page for vote


           SUBJECT  :    Commercial fishing:  crayfish

           SOURCE  :     Author


           DIGEST  :    This bill allows commercial fishing of crayfish in  
          Lake Tahoe for the primary purpose of population reduction and  
          control of the signal crayfish.

          ANALYSIS  :    

          Existing law: 

          1. Prohibits the sale or purchase of crayfish taken from Lake  
             Tahoe or the Lake Tahoe Basin. 

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          2. Requires commercial fishing licenses, crayfish permits, and  
             commercial fishing vessel registration for commercial  
             crayfish harvest operations.  Limits the size of crayfish  
             traps to three feet in greatest dimension and requires the  
             immediate return of other species taken in crayfish traps. 

          3. Confers authority to the Fish and Game Commission  
             (Commission) to set regulations for the taking and possession  
             of crayfish and to prohibit the use of crayfish traps that  
             will injure fish or create unnecessarily large amounts of  
             bycatch. 

          4. Prohibits by regulation the taking of crayfish for commercial  
             purposes from all lakes and reservoirs, and limits take in  
             certain California counties, including Placer and El Dorado  
             Counties, to areas west of Highway 49.  Requires that  
             crayfish legally caught under a commercial license be used  
             only for human consumption or for aquaculture.

          This bill:

          1.  Deletes the Fish and Game Code (FGC) Section barring the  
             sale or purchase of crayfish taken from Lake Tahoe or the  
             Lake Tahoe Basin. 

          2. Requires any allowance for the commercial taking of crayfish  
             in Lake Tahoe or in the Lake Tahoe Basin to be for the  
             primary purpose of population reduction and control of the  
             signal crayfish, as prescribed.

          3. Allows for the commercial taking of crayfish only to the  
             extent that it is consistent with state goals for management  
             of invasive species and other environmental standards,  
             including an environmental analysis conducted by the Tahoe  
             Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) or another appropriate lead  
             agency for each proposed individual harvest operation.

          4. Requires the Commission to ensure that its regulations for  
             the taking of crayfish from Lake Tahoe or the Lake Tahoe  
             Basin for commercial purposes be consistent with the Lake  
             Tahoe Region Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan.

           Background 
           

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          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 TRPA.

          FGC Section 1050 allows for the Commission 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 the  
          Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and the Commission.

          FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  No

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee:

             One-time costs of $31,000 to the Fish and Game Preservation  
             Fund (special) to the DFW and the Commission for California  
             Environmental Quality Act costs and regulation development.

             Ongoing costs of approximately $18,000 from the Fish and  
             Game Preservation Fund (special) for increased enforcement  
             and fishery monitoring.

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  7/8/13)

          Tahoe Regional Planning Agency

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office, this  
          bill will help control Lake Tahoe's invasive crayfish  

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          population.  The author's office argues that reducing the number  
          of crayfish in Lake Tahoe will in turn help address concerns  
          over lake clarity.  In addition to environmental benefits, the  
          author's office states that allowing the buying and selling of  
          crayfish from Lake Tahoe will help stimulate the state and local  
          economy.  The author's office notes that, under existing law,  
          even California restaurants near Lake Tahoe must import crayfish  
          from out of the region or out of the state. 

          TRPA, a bi-state planning and regulatory agency with  
          jurisdiction over the Lake Tahoe region, supports lifting  
          California's current statutory ban on commercial harvest of  
          crayfish.  TRPA states that commercial crayfish harvesting from  
          Lake Tahoe "may allow the control of this species by engaging  
          the private sector to accomplish what otherwise would not be  
          possible given the limited public funding" for controlling  
          invasive species.  TRPA also states that it will "conduct an  
          environmental analysis on the commercial boating associated with  
          each individual harvest operation" in order to ensure that any  
          resulting commercial operation is consistent with its standards  
          and ordinances.


           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  76-0, 5/9/13
          AYES:  Achadjian, Alejo, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Bigelow, Bloom,  
            Blumenfield, Bocanegra, Bonilla, Bonta, Bradford, Brown,  
            Buchanan, Ian Calderon, Campos, Chau, Chávez, Chesbro, Conway,  
            Cooley, Dahle, Daly, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eggman, Fong, Fox,  
            Frazier, Beth Gaines, Garcia, Gatto, Gomez, Gordon, Gorell,  
            Gray, Grove, Hagman, Hall, Harkey, Roger Hernández, Jones,  
            Jones-Sawyer, Levine, Linder, Lowenthal, Maienschein, Mansoor,  
            Medina, Melendez, Mitchell, Morrell, Mullin, Muratsuchi,  
            Nazarian, Nestande, Olsen, Pan, Patterson, Perea, V. Manuel  
            Pérez, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Rendon, Salas, Skinner, Stone,  
            Ting, Torres, Wagner, Weber, Wieckowski, Wilk, Williams,  
            Yamada, John A. Pérez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Holden, Logue, Waldron, Vacancy


          RM:k  7/9/13   Senate Floor Analyses 

                           SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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