Senate Bill 1148, opposed by both Inyo and Mono Supervisors, will tentatively go to an Assembly Committee hearing next week. Former Mono Senator Dave Cogdill now pushes to defeat that bill which he told Sierra Wave Media would re-direct one-third of fishing license revenue away from hatchery and fish-plant activities. Cogdill said there is a good chance to defeat the bill with a growing coalition of opposition.
When he served as Mono County’s State Senator, Cogdill negotiated Assembly Bill 7 which devoted part of fishing license fee funds for the Hatchery and Inland Fishery fund. He said the Department of Fish and Game has failed to implement aspects of AB7 and that they see it as the “red-haired stepchild.”
Cogdill believes that if SB1148 passes, the Eastern Seirra will see “too few fish.” He also attacked a part of that bill which would form a five-member panel of scientists who he believes would spend a lot of money on studies and environmental issues.
The organization, CalTrout, headquartered in San Francisco, has spearheaded SB1148. The Eastern Sierra representative of CalTrout, Mark Drew, was not available for comment. We also could not reach CalTrout Director Jeff Thompson.
In a letter to an Assembly Committee, Cogdill said that CalTrout has “snubbed the partnership formed surrounding AB7 and now are attempting to rewrite the code created through that partnership.” SB1148 would re-direct fishing license fee money to wild and native trout programs focused on fly fishing not on put and take fishing supported by fish plants.
Cogdill said he is not against wild trout programs but does oppose “raiding hatchery money.” He did say that there is a good chance of defeating the bill. He said he and others are dealing with the powerful Latino caucus on this issue. Cogdill said, “This is about elitist fly fishing. The 99% are being ignored.”
Cogdill expressed concern for the economic impact of rural communities. He said the hatchery system and fish plants have “worked for 130 years. It’s one of the best administered programs when it comes for best bang for the buck. People are catching fish and they’re happy about it.”