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September 26, 2012

Court Rules in Favor of Maintaining California Fish Hatcheries

California's restocking programs will continue, thanks to a series of court rulings in favor of the state's Department of Fish and Game in lawsuits brought by environmental groups.

The Calfiornia courts have ruled in favor of the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) in a series of lawsuits brought by environmental groups attacking the state’s hatchery and fish stocking programs. The rulings mean that the DFG can continue its salmon stocking programs, as well as programs for trout and steelhead. This is good news for ocean salmon fishing off the California coast. The ruling also bodes well for the future of saltwater stocking programs such as the Hubbs-Sea World White Seabass Hatchery in Carlsbad, California. 

“This decision reinforces what we have known here at Fish and Game for some time: that our fish-stocking program adopted in 2010 strikes the right balance by affording public fishing opportunities while maintaining our stewardship of California’s rivers and streams,” said DFG Director Charlton H. Bonham. 

In 2010, DFG certified its Hatchery and Stocking Program Environmental Impact Report, which described how DFG would operate its trout, salmon and steelhead hatcheries, its stocking programs, and other program elements. Last month, the DFG won lawsuits brought by two environmental groups alleging that DFG’s program violated the California Environmental Quality Act. Those lawsuits were brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics. DFG had earlier settled a similar lawsuit brought by the Owens Valley Committee.