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John McCamman, acting director of the California Department of Fish and Game, commended Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his prompt response to federal fisheries managers who approved the closure of salmon fisheries off California this week.

“On behalf of the Department of Fish and Game, I commend Gov. Schwarzenegger on his immediate action in declaring a state of emergency regarding the upcoming salmon season,” McCamman said in a news release.

McCamman indicated the department will immediately begin implementing the governor’s proclamation, and in conjunction with the Fish and Game Commission, will explore further angling opportunities for Californians that align with our mission to soundly manage the state’s marine and wildlife resources.

“Yesterday’s decision by the Pacific Fishery Management Council closing salmon fishing along the West Coast will result in significant economic impacts to recreational, commercial and in-river fishing interests in California,” McCamman stated in a news release. “The governor’s quick and thorough response provides avenues for economic relief and proves his commitment to impacted Californians.”

The governor’s proclamation directs numerous state agencies and departments to take various actions, including: addressing long-term restoration and management of salmon in California; making available grants and loans to prevent and/or mitigate business insolvencies and employment losses; seeking continued funding from the federal government under the federal Sport Fish Restoration Act that might be decreased based on the decrease in fishing license sales, refund or waive commercial salmon fishing permit fees and to make up to $2.7 million in special fund money available to DFG to refund commercial fishing salmon stamps and permits for the 2008 season.

At the governor’s request, Fish and Game assessed the potential damage from the closure of the salmon season and determined the loss to be $255 million and 2,263 California jobs, according the Governor’s Office.

Schwarzenegger also signed into law this week legislation authored by state Sen. Pat Wiggins, D – Santa Rosa, designating approximately $5.3 million in funding for coastal salmon and steelhead fisheries restoration projects.

The bill will take effect immediately because of an urgency clause that will also allow the state to leverage up to $20 million federal dollars for salmon restoration this spring.

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              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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