SACRAMENTO — AB 1949, Assemblymember Boerner Horvath’s bill to strengthen and expand the marine hatchery program in Carlsbad passed the Assembly Floor on a bipartisan 75-0 concurrence vote.
The Leon Raymond Hubbard Jr. Marine Fish Hatchery in Carlsbad is the only salt-water fish hatchery on the West Coast and operates as the main facility for the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP). The hatchery has historically been used to experiment with techniques for using cultivated white seabass to enhance their depleted wild populations.
AB 1949 reforms the program in step with the core recommendations from a California Sea Grant evaluation conducted by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the state’s request in 2015. This includes a restructuring of the program’s advisory panel so that it facilitates a more direct decision-making process while providing stakeholders with more appropriate representation, among other changes.
“At a time when climate change continues to put strain on the world’s oceans, we need to be finding more innovate ways to balance our commercial and sport fishing industries with the need to safeguard against overfishing,” said Assemblymember Boerner Horvath. “This bill gives us a shot at securing a sustainable fishing future by equipping us with the tools needed to become effective stewards of our marine resources.”
When OREHP was established in 1982, it was specifically dedicated to refining hatchery operations for use in replenishing white seabass in Southern California. Research since then conducted by the Hubbard Sea World Research Institute has identified 13 additional species that can benefit from the program’s cultivation efforts. AB 1949 updates current law to expand the scope of the program to include research on all species that have an economic impact on California.
"On behalf of the Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA-CAL), proud sponsors of AB 1949, we thank Assemblymember Boerner Horvath for her leadership in moving this bill forward” said Bill Shedd, who also serves as Chairman of the OREHP Advisory Panel. “This legislation will allow for the State to continue to invest in the science and research necessary to adapt to inevitable changes in the marine environment and usher in new productivity at this amazing facility.”
AB 1949 enjoys support from a broad coalition that includes conservationists along with sport and commercial fishermen. It now heads to the Governor’s Desk for his signature.