New Year Brings a New Name for the Department of Fish and Game

The California Department of Fish and Game has a new name.  On January 1, it became the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The state legislature introduced the change.

The Department of Fish and Game goes back to 1870, when California established the Board of Fish Commissioners. Since then, its mission has expanded to include managing not only hunting and fishing licenses, but also endangered species.

"Our responsibilities today are a lot different than they were during the Gold Rush," Chuck Bonham, the director of the Department of Fish and Game, said.

The bill that changes the name also boosts science and law enforcement capabilities in the Department. Bonham said this isn't about the controversy surrounding the then-president of the Fish and Game Commission when he killed a mountain lion in Idaho last January.

And anyway, he says, hunting and fishing remain a focal point in the department. "We still got game," Bonham said.

The physical aspects of the name change will phase in as letterhead, uniforms and signs need to be replaced.

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