Growdon opposes possible closure of local fisheries

Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon wrote a strongly worded letter to the California Fish and Game Commission opposing a possible Thursday, April 9 commission decision to “temporarily grant authority to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to decide where to delay, restrict or suspend sport or recreational fishing in order to prevent and mitigate public health risks that may arise when people travel for fishing trips or congregate while participating in available fishing opportunities.”

According to a statement from the commission, the CDFW director, in consultation with the commission president, if they find “such action is necessary to protect against the threat from COVID-19 based on state, federal, local and tribal public health guidance and public safety needs.”

The commission will hold an Emergency Meeting teleconference and webinar at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, April 9 and members of the public may comment on the proposed emergency regulation by calling (877) 402-9753 or (636) 651-3141. The access code is 832 4310.

Growdon posted his letter on the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page about 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 8. He wrote, “I write letters weighing in on many issues on a regular basis and don’t typically share them on social media. Based on inquires by the public, I am sharing the letter that I submitted to the California Fish and Game Commission today.”

In his letter to the commission, Growdon wrote as sheriff he was overseeing the county’s response to COVID-19 in partnership with other county officials, and he believed if the commission deferred its authority to CDFW the state agency could make “arbitrary state-wide or regional decisions related to angling activities. I believe these decisions can best be made at the county level and would ask that you not take the proposed action … There are thousands of miles of streams, rivers and shoreline in Lassen County that can be utilized by our residents while safely maintaining social distancing and other health standards.”

Growdon asked the commission to let Lassen County control its local fisheries.

“I ask that you give consideration to our rural communities and do not unnecessarily take away some of the opportunities available to our residents, particularly in these challenging times,” Growdon wrote. “We strive to maintain peace and order in our counties and we need to be able to focus on supporting the guidelines that are already in place rather than creating additional restrictions. We are already seeing an increase in domestic violence and other crimes based on current restrictions. Additional restrictions that unnecessarily limit opportunities for ‘quality family time’ will contribute to this problem.”