BY DAVE HURLEY
SACRAMENTO – The inability of anglers returning Sturgeon Report Cards has led to a major missing piece of necessary data on California’s white sturgeon population. The most recent returns were a paltry 31 percent, limiting the options for the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to estimate white sturgeon populations. An average of 45,000 Sturgeon Report Cards has been sold annually since 2013, but approximately 15,000 are returned. The inability of anglers returning the report cards has hamstrung the department in addition to stakeholders taking responsibility for the fishery.
With the enforcement of the emergency white sturgeon regulations in November 2023, there is an increased emphasis on returning report cards. According to the DFW, “The Report Card gives us information on things like how many anglers are fishing for sturgeon, how many fish are caught per year, and how many are released vs. kept for the table. This is some of the most useful information we can get, and we use it to help monitor the fishery and determine how much fishing pressure the population is experiencing. Filling in the Report Card completely and returning it on time are some of the most important things anglers can do to help CDFW manage these fish and keep them around forever.” Anglers can return Sturgeon Report Cards online via https://www.ca.wildlifelicense.com/InternetSales/CustomerSearch/Begin or mail to PO Box 944209, Sacramento CA 94244.