Bacher, Dan

Dan Bacher is an editor of The Fish Sniffer, described as "The #1 Newspaper in the World Dedicated Entirely to Fishermen."

Over Half a Million Splittail Taken in Delta Pumps on May 16!

By Dan Bacher

Hundreds of thousands of imperiled Sacramento splittail, a native minnow species, and thousands of threatened spring-run chinook salmon have died recently at the federal Central Valley Project (CVP) water pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, according to figures released by the Bureau of Reclamation.

On May 16, the "salvage" report from the Department of Fish and Game website reported 546,668 Sacramento splittail taken at the CVP pumps and 10,028 splittail at the State Water Project pumps.

On the same day, the Department reported 256 chinook salmon at the federal pumps and 546 salmon at the state pumps in the South Delta.

Farmers And Fishermen Unite to Restore Delta, Stop Peripheral Canal

By Dan Bacher

Corporate agribusiness "Astroturf" groups and their political allies have waged a media campaign over the past few years to portray the battle to save Central Valley chinook salmon and Delta fish populations as one of "fish versus jobs" or, more recently, "farmers versus fishermen."

“California residents are being denied access to water not because of a drought, but because the Democratic Congress has decided that a three inch minnow is more important than jobs in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Representative Devin Nunes (R-Visalia), one of the most vociferous opponents of Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other imperiled fish, in a statement on July 27, 2010 (before Republicans became the majority in the House).

Assembly Committee Passes Bill to Require Labels on Frankenfish

By Dan Bacher

The California Assembly Health Committee in Sacramento on May 3 approved a bill requiring that all GE salmon sold in California contain clear and prominent labeling.

Assemblymember Jared Huffman introduced the bill, AB 88, due to widespread dissatisfaction by consumer, fishing and environmental groups and Indian Tribes with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current review of the first-ever proposed commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) Aqua-Bounty salmon.

“Knowing whether our salmon is genetically engineered is important for a host of reasons, including risks to our native salmon species, and allowing consumers to make dietary choices consistent with concerns they may have for the environment, food safety, and religiously or ethically based dietary restrictions,” said Assemblymember Huffman, in explaining the reason for introducing the bill.

Human Right to Water Bills Pass Key Assembly Committees

By Dan Bacher

Tuesday, April 26 was a great day for the future of safe drinking water in California, where many rural and urban communities lack drinkable water.

Safe water advocates from across the state hailed the passage of AB 685, the Human Right to Water bill in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and the passage of four additional bills in the Human Right to Water bill package - AB 938, AB 983, AB 1187 and AB 1221 - in the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee.

Representatives of impacted California communities who testified at the bill hearings include Mark Franco, headman of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe; Susana De Anda and Laurel Firestone of the Community Water Center, with Coachella and Tulare County residents; and Debbie Davis from the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, with Maywood residents. Reverend Lindi Ramsden, Unitarian Universalist Legislative Ministry of California, and Shelley Moskowitz, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, also testified in support of the legislation.

Temporary Agreement Allows Glen Cove Spiritual Gathering For 24 Hours

By Dan Bacher

Native Americans occupying a burial ground facing development by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (GVRD) reached a temporary agreement Monday night with GVRD that allowed the spiritual gathering at Glen Cove to continue for the next 24 hours without threat of arrest. More than 150 people responded to the call for support.

"GVRD's plans to desecrate the sacred burial site have not been called off and we ask all our supporters to please remain on alert," emphasized Morning Star Gali from the Sacred Site Protection&Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT). "We continue to invite all who will join us in prayer to stand with us at Glen Cove as we continue to work on all levels to protect the ancestors from further desecration."

The occupation of the ancient burial site at Glen Cove in Vallejo by Native Americans and supporters entered its sixth day on Tuesday, April 18, 2011 as dozens remain at the site to guard it against desecration by bulldozers.

Group Reminds McClintock: Delta Farmers Are Excluded From Water Discussions

By Dan Bacher

For the past several years, corporate agribusiness Astroturf groups and their political allies have falsely claimed that protections for Central Valley salmon and Delta smelt have caused "massive unemployment" in the San Joaquin Valley.

At the April 11 field hearing in Fresno, entitled “Creating Jobs by Overcoming Man-Made Drought: Time for Congress to Listen and Act," Representative Tom McClintock (R-Rocklin), Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Water and Power, attempted to make the case that a "man-made drought" is the reason behind record unemployment in the Central Valley.

In doing so, McClintock echoed the rhetoric of agribusiness Astroturf groups, including the Latino Water Coalition and Coalition for a Sustainable Delta, claiming that Delta pumping restrictions to protect Central Valley chinook salmon, Delta smelt and other imperiled species have created a "New Dust Bowl" that has caused "massive unemployment" in the San Joaquin Valley.

U.S. Small Business Administration Approves Disaster Relief Loans for California Salmon Fishermen

By Dan Bacher

Karen G. Mills, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator, announced on March 31 that low-interest Federal disaster loans are now available to California salmon fishermen and salmon fishing related businesses that suffered financial losses due to the closure of the April 10 through September 30, 2010 California commercial salmon fishing season.

By declaring a disaster, Administrator Mills’ action makes Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) available immediately to help meet financial needs caused by the closure of the 2010 salmon fishery season. SBA acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following a March 25, 2011 request from Mike Dayton, Acting Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA), on behalf of Governor Jerry Brown.

Sacramento Winter And Spring Run Chinook Salmon Numbers Plummet

By Dan Bacher

The National Marine Fisheries Service forecasts an ocean abundance of 729,893 Sacramento fall chinooks this year, based on modeling derived from a 2010 jack (two-year-old) salmon escapement to Central Valley rivers in 2010, while the winter and spring runs continue to decline.

Due to the increased fall salmon abundance, recreational and commercial fishermen will see more liberal salmon season seasons on the California and southern California coast this year. The recreational salmon fishing season will open on Saturday, April 2 in ocean waters from Horse Mountain in Humboldt County to the U.S./Mexico border.

Marine Protected Areas – Or Paper Reserves?

By Dan Bacher

Warner Chabot, in his article in the California Progress Report on March 16, affirms that we have “a responsibility to ensure” that the ocean “is managed sustainably and responsibly.”

Just about everybody can agree that we need to manage the ocean “sustainably and responsibly.” Where the disagreement comes is the type and scope of protection that will be provided. The essential problem is that the MLPA Initiative doesn't provide the comprehensive, holistic protection that is now needed to preserve marine ecosystems.

Chabot and other MLPA Initiative proponents falsely portray representatives of fishing groups and other critics of the process as “opponents of ocean protection” and proponents of “overfishing."

Salmon Speak to Governor Brown: The Full Series

By Dan Bacher

Bruce Tokars of Salmon Water Now has completed his top-notch series about salmon speaking to Governor Jerry Brown on how to save California's salmon populations.  

"What if salmon could speak?" said Tokars. "We imagine that they would have a lot to say about how difficult their lives have been because of the way humans have treated their environment. The past decade has not been kind to salmon but it is not too late to fix the problems that have pushed wild California salmon to the edge of extinction."

"The person who can have the greatest impact on reversing salmon’s march to oblivion is California’s past and current governor, Jerry Brown. The people he hires or appoints to manage and repair California’s water system can make a difference. But they need to follow sound science and reject the hysterical political grandstanding of those who only care about their own greedy ambitions," he stated.