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CA Globe Exposes Proposed Sportfishing Shutdown, Now Being Walked Back by State and News Media

Fishing enthusiasts outraged at government overreach during COVID-19 crisis

This week, California Globe reported that Charles Bonham, director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife was proposing to postpone the sportfishing season through May in rural areas, and credited the Sacramento Bee with first reporting the story.

The government’s bureaucratic overreach outraged thousands of readers and sportfishing enthusiasts, if the commentsleft on the Globe’s article and on the Facebook post are any indication.

Following the Bee and Globe articles, Fish and Wildlife held a planned teleconference to discuss the matter, and was inundated by angry callers.

California Globe looked up the County map of COVID-19 cases, and found five deaths due to the virus in the northern rural counties, and 50 in the rural Southern California counties – most of which are in nursing homes.

In the Bee’s article, this is what angered many:

“The state’s Fish and Game Commission will meet via teleconference Thursday to decide whether to grant emergency powers to Charlton Bonham, the director of the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The move would give him the authority to postpone the sportfishing season through May in certain areas, Bonham said Monday in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.”

“The proposal would allow Bonham to stop or delay the fishing season only in certain regions at the request of local and tribal governments and health officials.”

“The intent of the state’s proposed order was more limited, however,” the Bee now says. “The Fish and Game Commission’s teleconference meeting Thursday was supposed to decide whether to give emergency powers to Charlton Bonham, Newsom’s appointee overseeing the Department of Fish and Wildlife, so he could close fishing season in certain areas at the request of local officials.”

“Almost immediately, the 8:30 a.m. meeting was overwhelmed by more than 500 participants on the call.”

“State officials and participants urged everyone on the line to mute their lines amid the howls of background noise and beeping as dozens called in. One of those who didn’t mute shouted, ‘I have a right to speak!’”

“’Fascists!’ another said.”

“You cancel, we’re just coming back,” another said.

“Let’s make fishing great again!” said another.

“Make a stand! Join the Klan!” said another as the meeting devolved into chaos.

Deeper in the Bee’s follow up article, they name California Globe for reporting the proposed closure of the state’s sportfishing season, but did not link to our article:

Soon after Bonham spoke to The Bee, the conservative media site the “California Globe” posted a story lifting sections of The Bee’s reporting and leaving out Bonham’s remarks that he wasn’t closing the season outright.

“CA Department Of Fish And Wildlife Commissioner Wants To Close Sportfishing Season Due To COVID-19,” the Globe’s headline read.

The Globe didn’t “lift” sections of the Bee’s reporting – we quoted the Bee’s reporting, with a link to the article.

The Bee is now parsing words. Their original article reported this: “California is poised to close the spring sportfishing season in some counties in response to worries that anglers will spread COVID-19 to rural communities.”

Notably, sportfishing in California only takes place in “certain areas,” and in “some counties,” in mostly rural areas of the state.

The Los Angeles Times named the Globe as well.

“The conservative media site the ‘California Globe’ posted a story that omitted sections of the Bee’s reporting and Bonham’s remarks that he was not advocating a statewide recreational fishing closure.”

“CA Department Of Fish And Wildlife Commissioner Wants To Close Sportfishing Season Due To COVID-19,” the Globe’s headline read.

“The Globe’s story was shared on Facebook by state Assemblyman James Gallager (R-Yuba City) and U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale).”

“If the powers are granted, Bonham could limit fishing in some California rivers, streams and lakes at the request of local officials concerned that visiting recreational fishing enthusiasts might spread the virus,” the LAT reported.

Fishing enthusiasts are outraged at the government overreach during this COVID-19 crisis.

Since the Globe’s article reported on the threat to close California’s sportfishing season, Bonham at Fish and Wildlife and even Gov. Gavin Newsom have now stated that the state is not closing the sportfishing season.

The Globe was merely pointing out bureaucratic overreach. “Some rural officials are worried that if the season is allowed to continue, anglers would continue to gather in violation of both state and local social-distancing orders,” the Bee reported.

There is no real reason to shutdown sportfishing in the state’s rural regions. There is no real threat to rural hospitals by sportfishing men and women. The bureaucrats were just jumping on the bandwagon and using the virus threat to shutdown fishing because they could, because that is what government bureaucrats do.

Katy GrimesKaty Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?

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