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FISH & GAME COMMISSION ON APRIL 2 WILL CONSIDER LISTING DELTA SMELT AS THREATENED SPECIES

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- California's Fish and Game Commission at its April 2 meeting in Sacramento will reconsider a petition to list the Delta smelt as a threatened species, the California Department of Fish and Game said today. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials recently added the Delta smelt to the federal list of threatened species.
 In 1989, the commission designated the fish as a candidate for state listing. Upon completion of a 12-month review period in which available scientific information was reviewed, the Department of Fish and Game recommended that the Delta smelt be accepted for listing as a threatened species.
 At its Aug. 30, 1990 meeting, the Commission found that listing action was not warranted at that time.
 At its April 2 meeting in Sacramento, the Commission will reconsider the petition to list the Delta smelt as a threatened species "based on current information."
 Under California law, a native species is endangered when it is in serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all, or a significant portion, of its range due to one or more causes, including loss of habitat, change of habitat, over-exploitation, predation, competition or disease.
 A species is threatened when, though not presently threatened with extinction, it is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future in the absence of special protection and management efforts.
 The Delta smelt is a small fish, two to three inches long, living only in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the lower Sacramento River. Delta smelt populations are believed to be at or near historic low levels and have been since the mid-1980s. The Delta smelt lives only a year.
 Fish and Game officials have identified several factors they think inhibit recovery of the population. These include:
 -- Entrainment of larval, juvenile and adult smelt in water diversions, such as the Central Valley Project (CVP) and State Water Project (SWP).
 -- Competition for food by accidentally introduced exotic species, such as the Asiatic clam and Chameleon goby.
 -- Genetic dilution by immigration of a closely related smelt, the wakasagi, from Central Valley reservoirs.
 The Delta smelt agenda item is scheduled early on the commission's agenda for April 2. That meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m., in Office Building 8, Auditorium, 714 P St., Sacramento.
 -0- 3/15/93
 /CONTACT: Pete Weisser or Lanny Clavecilla of Conservation Education of the California Department of Fish and Game, 916-653-6420/


CO: California Department of Fish and Game ST: California IN: SU:

GT-CK -- SF013 -- 6294 03/15/93 18:14 EST
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Date:Mar 15, 1993
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