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Department of Fish and Game

September 19, 2003

Contacts:
Dirk Brazil, Chief Deputy Director (916) 653-7667
Stephanie Coupe, Staff Counsel (916) 654-3830

FISH AND GAME COMMISSION GRANTS DECEMBER EXTENSION FOR COHO SALMON RECOVERY STRATEGY

SACRAMENTO — The California Fish and Game Commission has granted an extension to the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) for the completion of the Coho Salmon Recovery Strategy. The extension, made at a special meeting held Thursday, instructs DFG to make improvements and complete the document by the end of the year.

The Coho Salmon Recovery Strategy will provide a blueprint for the recovery of coho salmon in California, helping to revive struggling coho populations and restore their depleted habitat. Goals of the recovery strategy are the removal of coho salmon from the California Endangered Species List as well as the restoration of tribal, commercial, and recreational coho salmon fisheries.

“The more I read the plan, the more impressed I am with it,” said Sam Schuchat, Fish and Game Commissioner.

The Recovery Strategy is complex and lengthy, containing 11 chapters in 350 pages of text encompassing more than 500 recommendations, and it clearly reflects how complex and lengthy the development process is.

The statewide recovery team, comprised of key stakeholders appointed by the DFG Director, began meeting in December 2002. A second recovery team, also appointed by the Director, and more narrowly focused on the Scott and Shasta Valleys of Siskiyou County, began to meet in January of 2003. The teams met monthly, typically devoting two days to discussion and debate, often listening to technical presentations made by subject area experts. This formal process, facilitated by a professional mediator, led to the development of the recommendations embodied in the recovery strategy.

The Coho Salmon Recovery Strategy represents an unprecedented effort by DFG and the myriad of stakeholders involved. The work embodied in this report represents huge strides toward the recovery of coho.

“Those involved have dedicated a tremendous amount of effort, showing equal parts of passion and perseverance,” said Robert C. Hight, DFG Director. “And along the way, we have been developing respectful partnerships that will bring this process to a successful completion.”

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