The California Department of Fish and Wildlife spends millions of dollars every year on raising juvenile fish and stocking local lakes and rivers, both for fishing opportunities as well as conservation. Recently, the CDFW’s tactics have been questioned by local fish enthusiasts and one viral video shows exactly why.
The Twin Lakes Resort in Bridgeport, California recently captured a fish stocking on the lake in which the fish are dumped out onto the boating ramp, struggling to survive as they sit just feet from the water. Here’s the video:
“This is so disappointing,” the resort wrote on Facebook. “I know many people who work for DFW who care about our waters, but this isnâ€™t one. How does anyone expect these fish to survive? Iâ€™ve already reported this to DFW. We need to fix this broken system.”
According to the CDFW, the problem arose due to an equipment malfunction.
“On May 24, a CDFW fish stocking truck experienced a mechanical malfunction at the start of a routine plant which resulted in a small quantity of fish being released prematurely,” said the CDFW in a statement. “We are proud of how quickly our staff reacted to address the problem and how they were able to finish the plant by successfully releasing thousands of fish into Twin Lakes. We want to take this opportunity to encourage compassion for those doing their best when difficulties arise. In this case quick thinking saved thousands of fish and resulted in a stocked lake for anglers to enjoy.”
Although it seems like a reasonable response from the CDFW, the fishing community was understandably upset. The fish programs in the state are mostly funded by fishing permits, which can cost a pretty penny every year. Others pointed out that these juvenile fish have a very low survival rate in the first place, making this specific incident a small drop in the bucket.
Either way, it’s a bad look for the CDFW, especially when they already face plenty of criticism for their fish tactics.