State Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff practices his casting for the friendly legislators' competition on the North Lawn of the State Capitol.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2014
Contact: Sam Davidson, (831) 235-2542, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact: Curtis Knight, (530) 859-1872, email@example.com
Legislators Compete in Friendly Fly Casting Competition to Show Value of California’s Recreational Fishing Economy
2014 Casting Call Blends Education and Fun to Promote Support for California’s Trout and Salmon
SACRAMENTO - Trout Unlimited and California Trout hosted the 5th annual Casting Call event on the north lawn of the California State Capitol today. The event celebrates California’s native salmon and trout and is intended to call attention to the state’s sport fishing heritage and economy. Given the severe drought facing California, both organizations are leveraging this fun event to promote actions and programs at the state level that will help trout and salmon survive low-water years.
“We’ve seen the value of the Casting Call grow over the past five years, particularly as severe drought conditions have taken hold around the state,” said California Trout conservation director Curtis Knight. “Recreational fishing is a significant economic driver in California. It makes good sense for legislators to ensure that native fish receive adequate water to survive low-water years.”
According to a 2013 report from the American Sportfishing Association, Californians spend $2.4 Billion annually on recreational fishing-related expenses.
From a policy perspective, one of the most important things the state can to support native fish is ensuring adequate cold-water flows are maintained in the state’s rivers and streams. One example of such a policy is a joint state-federal effort known as the California Voluntary Drought Initiative. This initiative calls on willing water users in high priority watersheds to reduce negative effects on protected salmon and steelhead populations during the drought. Both California Trout and Trout Unlimited support this program as an example of the type of practical solutions available to ensure that the state’s native fish are able to weather the ongoing drought.
Due to a number of diverse factors, including rising temperatures, pesticide use, and fish passage blockage, 65% of California’s native fish are in danger of extinction before the end of the century. State policy aimed at protecting flows and water quality, improving fish passage and increasing floodplain habitat in the Central Valley could all help to reverse these trends.
“This fun event helps us to highlight what’s at stake not just for our native fish, but for all Californians,” noted Brian Johnson, Trout Unlimited’s California director. “Aquatic species like fish have an important message to send to policymakers and water managers: if fish are not doing well, we should recognize their demise as a wake-up call that our aquatic ecosystems need help.”
The Casting Call was well-attended by state legislators, including Senators Tom Berryhill and and Bob Huff, and Assemblymember Brian Dahle. The free event included fly casting instruction from professional fly fishing guides, “Chinookies” (salmon-shaped cookies) and “trout trivia” questions. Volunteers and staff from Trout Unlimited and California Trout were on hand to talk about cold water fish conservation priorities and strategies.