Inyo and Mono County governments and former Mono Senator Dave Cogdill will not give up the fight to defeat Sentae Bill 1148. Cogdill, an experienced legislator who fought to protect hatcheries and fishing, created Assembly Bill 7 to do the job. He says Fish and Game has never tried to follow that law and should before they hand over more money and jobs to wild trout programs.
In a letter to Governor Jerry Brown, Cogdill says that SB 1148 “reprioritizes the mission at Fish and Game such that wild and native trout programs take priority over hatchery operations.” Cogdill tells the Governor that local elected officials of small towns rely on recreational fishing and agree that the shift in SB 1148 will “permanently and negatively impact hatcheries and sport fishing in stocked waters.” Cogdill says the bill will also expand bureaucracy and costs by an estimated tens of millions of dollars. He says that will mean much higher fishing license fees.
Analyses of SB 1148, while they remain absent of many details, do repeatedly mention wild trout programs and needs. Cogdill and others say this will point Fish and Game away from hatcheries and toward wild trout priorities. Cogdill says in his letter to the Governor that anglers deserve positive fishing experiences for their license fees and not just the “wealthy engaging in fly fishing of the state’s native trout.”
Cogdill then tells the Governor that Fish and Game has failed for seven years to implement the goals of Assembly Bill 7 which addresses trout. He accuses Fish and Game of syphoning off 30% of the hatchery and fishery funds and unlawfully redirecting $1.8 million of license fees. Follow AB 7, says Cogdill, before you change a system that has worked for decades.
Cogdill said he will attend the Mono Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday, September 11 with more on this issue. Meanwhile, Inyo Supervisors sent a letter to the Governor with a plea for his veto. Their letter points to the same concerns Cogdill raises. The letter ends with this:
“Please VETO SB 1148 and protect AB 7 to safeguard and sustain the tourist fishing industry in Inyo County and throughout the State for the benefit of all of our fishermen, our angling tourists, our businesses, the State and local economies, and most importantly our citizens and constituency.”