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Delta Watch

Striped Bass

Striped Bass Predation Continues to Contribute to Decline of Native Salmon

Predation by non-native species, including striped bass and black bass, is a leading cause of mortality among migrating juvenile salmon in the Delta.

Federal fishery agencies consider striped bass, a non-native species introduced for sport fishing, among the most important predators of juvenile salmon because of their vast numbers, and opportunistic and predatory feeding habits.  And, the California Department of Fish and Game’s own experts have estimated that striped bass may consume upwards of 25-50 percent of endangered winter- and spring-run Chinook salmon.  Yet striped bass populations are misguidedly protected by size and bag limits to ensure these fish are available to recreational fishermen, at the cost of native, endangered salmon.

In February 2012, the California Fish and Game Commission voted not to move forward with an environmental review of the Department of Fish and Game’s proposal to reduce the effects of striped bass predation in the Delta by reducing size limits and increasing bag limits on the fish. The proposal was the product of a settlement by the Coalition for a Sustainable Delta in its lawsuit brought against the Department of Fish and Game, and it was supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, and Delta Stewardship Council.  Rather than undertake a comprehensive study of the proposed regulation changes, the Commission dismissed the Department’s recommendation without giving it serious consideration. 

The Department of Fish and Game held a scientific workshop on the effects of fish predation on central valley salmonids in the Bay-Delta in July. The two-day workshop consisted of a panel of fishery scientists discussing what is known about predation in the Delta and what can be done to address the issue. The panel will issue a report on its findings in September. 

The Coalition continues to push regulatory agencies to address this known stressor on salmonids and other species in the Delta.

More Background on Striped Bass Predation

Delta Watch: Spotlight on predation in the Delta

State of the Science Workshop on Fish Predation on Central Valley Salmonids in the Bay-Delta Watershed to be held July 22-23

San Joaquin Tributaries Authority: Report proves predation is a significant drain on native salmon populations and must be addressed to restore fishery

Natural Resource Scientists, Inc.: Evaluation of Acoustic-Tagged Juvenile Chinook Salmon and Predatory Fish Movements

REPORT: Insights into the Problems, Progress and Potential Solutions for Sacramento River Basin Native Anadromous Fish Restoration - April 2011

Department of Fish and Game releases draft striped bass fishing regulations

News Coverage

Non-native fish reducing salmon
Article from the Oakdale Dealer (Sept. 18, 2013)

Bass getting pass on water crisis; SSJID contends non-native fish reducing salmon numbers
Article from the Manteca Bulletin (Sept. 8, 2013)

The Challenges of Salvaging Smelt and Other Delta Fish
Capital Public Radio (July 15, 2013)

ACWA submits comments on striped bass regulations
Post from ACWA Water News (Jan. 26, 2012)

Striper battle reveals bizarre fisheries policy
Editorial from the Redding Record Searchlight (Nov. 28, 2011)

Striper rules may be relaxed
Article from the Redding Record Searchlight (Nov. 24, 2011)

Salmon vs. stripers policy stirs emotion
Article from the Chico Enterprise Record (Nov. 7, 2011)

Changes to striper fishing could be coming soon
Article from the Roseville Press Tribune (Nov. 7, 2011)