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New Report: California Fish On Brink Of Extinction

November 19, 2008

California's cold water fish are in deep trouble. A new report called "SOS: California's Native Fish Crisis," finds that 65 percent of native salmon, steelhead and trout could be extinct within 100 years or sooner. The University of California Davis study analyzed thirty-two native fish species; of those, fourteen are listed as threatened or endangered and one species, the bull trout, is already extinct.

UC Davis professor Dr. Peter Moyle says, "Fish don't lie." He believes his findings are an indication of the poor condition of California's rivers and streams.

"These are fish that really are characteristic of our cold waters. So, if you have high water quality in our streams, which is good for people, those are the same conditions that are really good for salmon and trout."

California Trout executive director Brian Stranko says this is not just a problem for the fish species, but for the economy as well. He says eco-tourism, such as fishing, brings in more than two billion dollars a year to the state.

"We need to heed the warning and have a different relationship with our rivers and streams. Otherwise, we will see impacts not only for those fish, but for our economy and our people statewide."

Solutions outlined in the report include increased funding for the California Department of Fish and Game to better protect and manage fish habitats, and to develop the science needed to remove obsolete dams to allow access for migratory fish.

According to Dr. Moyle, it is not too late to reverse the trends. He believes immediate efforts to increase and improve water quality will help restore the threatened species.

More information about the report is at

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA