As reported by The Sacramento Bee, on April 5, 2011, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California approved (pdf) a stipulated settlement agreement (pdf), over the objections of intervenors, potentially ending the ongoing dispute over the alleged impacts of striped bass predation on listed salmonids and delta smelt. (The Sacramento Bee, April 6, 2011, by Matt Weiser)
In 2008, plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Fish and Game ("Department") alleging that the enforcement of the striped bass sport-fishing regulations was resulting in the "take" of listed salmonids and delta smelt, in violation of section 9 of the federal Endangered Species Act. Shortly thereafter, various sport fishing interests intervened in the lawsuit.
The settlement agreement obligates the Department to, among other things, collaborate with the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the development of a regulatory proposal to modify the striped bass sport-fishing regulations. The proposal, which must be based upon the best available scientific information, will be submitted to the California Fish and Game Commission along with a Department recommendation justifying the adoption of the proposal. In addition to the development of a regulatory proposal, the settlement agreement obligates the Department to set aside $1 million to support research projects regarding predation on listed species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and/or the anadromous waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds.