SACRAMENTO — AB 1949, Assemblymember Boerner Horvath’s bill to strengthen and expand the marine hatchery program in Carlsbad was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
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). As the longest-running program of this kind in the country, the OREHP has significantly contributed to the world’s understanding of how to successfully spawn, rear, and release saltwater fish.
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.
“The combination of stakeholder control and independent oversight will ensure that taxpayer dollars that go towards hatchery operations are being used efficiently and in a way that benefits all of us,” 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. I’m looking forward to everything that we’ll be able to accomplish with this new and improved program.”
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 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.
"In the 38 years since the OREHP was established, much has changed – both in our ocean environment and in the world of recreational angling,” said Bill Shedd, Chairman of the Coastal Conservation Association of California (CCA-CAL), the bill’s sponsor. “By optimizing the program for the needs of today, AB 1949 improves its usefulness and elevates the role of marine enhancement science in securing California’s sustainable fishing future. I want to thank Assemblymember Boerner Horvath for carrying this legislation and ushering in a brand-new chapter in the history of this one-of-a-kind facility."
AB 1949 enjoys support from a broad coalition that includes conservationists along with sport and commercial fishermen. The new law goes into effect on January 1st, 2021.