Environment

Sturgeon anglers neglect report cards

California sturgeon, seen at a 2012 State Fair exhibit, can live 100 years. The state wants cards returned by those with permits to catch the fish.
California sturgeon, seen at a 2012 State Fair exhibit, can live 100 years. The state wants cards returned by those with permits to catch the fish. Sacramento Bee file

More than 80 percent of anglers who tried to catch white sturgeon in California last year are not following the rules: They failed to mail back report cards stating how many sturgeon they caught.

The report cards are required to fish for white sturgeon, a giant fish native to the Sacramento River and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The cards for the 2014 fishing season should have been mailed back to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife by Jan. 31, even if an angler had caught no sturgeon.

As of Tuesday, 18 percent of nearly 50,000 report cards had been returned. There is no penalty for failing to return the cards.

Wildlife officials are urging sturgeon anglers to return their report cards. They provide valuable data not only on how many sturgeon were caught and where, but they shed light on the total population size and help monitor illegal poaching.

“It’s an important source of information,” said Marty Gingras, the state’s sturgeon program manager. “We're asking anglers to send the information to us now, even though the deadline has passed. It's truly better late than never.”

A sturgeon can live more than 100 years and reach more than 6 feet long. Anglers may keep only one white sturgeon a day and no more than three in a year.

The reporting information can also be submitted online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing. For more information, call the Department of Fish and Wildlife at (916) 928-5805.

Call The Bee’s Matt Weiser at (916) 321-1264. Follow him on Twitter @matt_weiser.

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