Monday, February 23, 2009

SOS: California's Native Fish Crisis

Report Shows California Fish in Crisis Trends indicate 65% of native salmon, steelhead, and
trout species may be extinct within 100 years

CalTrout released the first-ever comprehensive report chronicling the status of each of California’s native fish species (salmon, steelhead, and trout). SOS: California’s Native Fish Crisis was written and researched by Dr. Peter Moyle, UC Davis professor and renowned expert on California’s water systems and the fish that inhabit them.

The report’s findings indicate that the state’s native salmonids are in unprecedented decline and are teetering towards the brink of extinction – an alarm bell that signals the deteriorating health of the state’s rivers and streams that provide drinking water to millions of Californians.

All indications show that California’s native fish are in crisis:

• If present trends continue, 65% of native salmon, steelhead, and trout species will be extinct within 100 years.

• Sixty-five percent of the species headed towards extinction are found only in California.

• Of the state’s 22 anadromous fish species (which spawn in freshwater and live most of their adult lives in the ocean), 59% are in danger of extinction.

• Of the state’s nine living native inland fish, 78% are in danger of extinction.

“The fish don’t lie,” said report author Peter Moyle, PhD. “The story they tell is that California’s environment is unraveling. Their demise is symptomatic of a much larger water crisis that, unless addressed, will severely impact every Californian.”

On Southern Steelhead:

Conservation Recommendations: Conservation
of southern steelhead will require the immediate protection
and expansion of their habitat and the reestablishment of
runs that were historically highly productive, including the
Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Ventura and Santa Clara Rivers.
Changes in water management to ensure adequate flows and
passage to spawning and rearing areas are critically needed.

Ongoing research and restoration efforts have shown that when flows are reinstated, migration barriers removed, and cool, clean, abundant water provided, our native fish show signs of recovery.

Download the complete report here: