It’s all that’s been talked about in California fishing circles for the past few days – will California restrict fishing due to the Coronavirus outbreak?
There was a lot on the line when the California Fish and Game Commission scheduled an emergency meeting at 8:30 am on Thursday hosted via webinar and phone to discuss delegating temporary authority to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to suspend fishing in certain areas of the state. Recreational fishing was on the line, and many had joined the meeting to voice their opinions.
To put it lightly, the meeting did not go well.
First of all, the webinar was full. After multiple attempts to call-in, I was finally able to join the meeting via phone, and it sounded like a crowded bar of drunken hooligans. Over 500 people were belligerently yelling and moaning about God knows what, while a few voices of sanity came over the phone announcing the meeting had been cancelled.
The California Fish and Game Commission's emergency meeting was a huge shitshow. First, the webinar was full. Then, so were both call-in numbers. When I was finally able to connect via phone, it was 500 people screaming over each other that it was cancelled. What's happening?— Zach O'Brien (@ZachDOBrien) April 9, 2020
Since I was unable to make out what had just happened, I went to Sacramento Bee’s water reporter to get info on what just happened. It was chaotic:
"I HAVE A RIGHT TO SPEAK!"— Ryan Sabalow (@RyanSabalow) April 9, 2020
"YOU CANCEL; WE'RE JUST COMING BACK."
Now someone is broadcasting a sermon.— Ryan Sabalow (@RyanSabalow) April 9, 2020
"LET'S MAKE FISHING GREAT AGAIN!"— Ryan Sabalow (@RyanSabalow) April 9, 2020
And they conclude the meeting, saying it'll be rescheduled due to the phone issue.— Ryan Sabalow (@RyanSabalow) April 9, 2020
"Make a stand; joined the Klan," someone says.
The whole situation would be humorous if there wasn’t so much on the line. Anybody with their ear to the ground in fishing circles knew that many passionate fishermen would be at the meeting this morning, including guides who are worried that there businesses may falter. Those fishermen were loud and profane, and it concluded with the end of the meeting.
At the end of the day, a mob formed over the phone and chaos ensued. Now what? Will this deter officials from closing recreational fishing in the state? Will this fuel the flames?
Here was the note on the Fish and Game Commision’s website regarding the rescheduling of the event:
“This meeting is being rescheduled. It will be continued at another time on another platform. Please stay tuned to your email and the Commission home page for further details.”
We will keep you updated as information is released.
Zach O’Brien is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Active NorCal