California Department of Fish and Wildlife

California Fish and Game Commission

Established by the California State Constitution, the Fish and Game Commission is composed of five commissioners appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. The Commission has been involved in the management and wise use of California's fish and wildlife resources since 1870. The Commission has general regulatory powers, under which it decides seasons, bag limits and methods of take for game animals and sport fish. With the passage of the Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) in 1998, management authority for many commercial fisheries has been transferred from the state Legislature, and now resides with the Commission. Many Californians are not fully aware of the identity, function or responsibilities of the California Fish and Game Commission, and consider it synonymous with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Actually, the Commission is a separate entity. Some have criticized the Commission's regulatory powers actions as being nothing more than a rubber stamp for CDFW's recommendations. A review of the Commission's actions on various Department recommendations indicates that this is not the case. In many instances, the Commission rejects or substantially modifies actions recommended by CDFW, but only where it is convinced that such action is in the best interest of the resource and truly reflects the wishes and needs of the people. It is only natural that the Commission often relies heavily on CDFW's biological data and recommendations, since CDFW has the largest staff of experts for compiling data on California's wildlife.