Commission Policies

Code of Conduct

It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

  1. A commissioner shall faithfully discharge the duties, responsibilities, and quasi-judicial actions of the commission.
  2. A commissioner shall conduct his or her affairs in the public's best interest, following principles of fundamental fairness and due process of law.
  3. A commissioner shall conduct his or her affairs in an open, objective, and impartial manner, free of undue influence and the abuse of power and authority.
  4. A commissioner understands that California's wildlife and natural resources programs require public awareness, understanding, and support of, and participation and confidence in, the commission and its practices and procedures.
  5. A commissioner shall preserve the public's welfare and the integrity of the commission, and act to maintain the public's trust in the commission and the implementation of its regulations and policies.
  6. A commissioner shall not conduct himself or herself in a manner that reflects discredit upon state laws or policies, regulations, and principles of the commission.
  7. A commissioner shall not make, participate in making, or in any other way attempt to use his or her official position to influence a commission decision in which the member has a financial interest.

(Adopted 3/6/2013)

Return to Policies

Implementation and Review of Policies

It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

The Fish and Game Commission shall regularly review implementation by the Department of Commission policy. To assist in this review, the Department shall, upon request by the Commission, report on the subject of departmental adherence to specified Commission policies, and any administrative problems posing a need for modifying, repealing or adding Commission policies.

In addition, the Department shall report annually to the Commission on its programs and shall keep the Commission apprised of its activities through the presentation of informational items at the Commission meetings. Such reports shall include any significant anticipated changes in its programs for the forthcoming year and any limitation of financial or staffing resources which have hindered or may hinder the implementation of programs which are mandated by Commission policies.

The Department shall also report on its review of the following four elements: budget, legislation, environmental mitigation, and Department controlled lands.

  1. Budget: The Commission shall receive an annual written and oral presentation by the Department at its early August meeting. The Department's report shall include, but not be limited to, the following: (1) proposed changes in personnel allocation and programmatic emphasis and shall evaluate impacts of proposals on policy implementation; (2) projected revenue shortfalls which may inhibit policy implementation; (3) revenue surpluses or deficits in relation to major expenditure categories; and (4) 10 year trends in relation to: (a) population, (b) inflation, (c) license sales, and (d) other income. At periodic Commission Budget Subcommittee meetings, the Department shall report on major programmatic budgeted and actual expenditures as well as any other budget information the Commission believes is important in fulfilling its role as an oversight body.
  2. Legislation: The Department shall report to the Commission on adherence to its policy on legislation. In addition, the Department shall provide an informational item at each Commission meeting regarding its proposed legislation or any legislation affecting the Department or the Commission and its position on the legislation.
  3. Environmental Review: The Commission shall receive written departmental reports regarding major proposed land, water and marine projects which may have a significant impact on fish or wildlife habitat or environmentally sensitive habitat. Said reports shall include departmental evaluation of potential impacts, recommendation for project mitigation or opposition, and consistency of recommendations with Commission policy.
  4. Department Controlled Lands: The Commission shall receive a list of lands controlled by the Department along with the specific location, a map and a general description of the lands, the use of any revenue derived from the lease or use of said lands, the lessee or lessor, the expiration date of such leases, and any significant conflicts or impacts the use of the lands may have on wildlife. The Department, through the surname process, shall keep the Commission's Executive Director informed of any modifications of this information, and amendments to any existing leases.

The Commission shall review all information and recommendations for policy consistency. The Commission may delegate initial review of the above information to Commission staff.

(Amended 12/4/1992, 6/7/2007)

Return to Policies

Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Positive Vision

It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that, as an agency charged with serving the public, the Commission has the responsibility to make decisions in a just, equitable and inclusive manner. As such, the Commission is committed to ensuring California’s fish and wildlife are managed with public confidence and participation and striving toward safe and equitable access to California’s thriving native wildlife and natural habitats, supported by inclusive decision-making that reflects the needs and values of the state’s diverse communities.

To achieve this vision, it is necessary to acknowledge and address significant past injustices suffered by California Native American tribes and to recognize their interwoven connection to and stewardship of the environment. It is also necessary to acknowledge the well-documented prejudices and barriers experienced by historically marginalized and underserved communities in terms of access to nature and regulatory decision-making processes, in addition to the privilege associated with outdoor access.

Values Central to the Mission of the Commission

The Commission holds certain values as central to its mission and strives to uphold and exemplify these values in all its actions and interactions. In addition to formally adopting values of integrity, transparency, innovation, collaboration, excellence and stewardship, the Commission has made a strong commitment to upholding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. The Commission recognizes environmental justice as essential to addressing historic and current inequities, and to creating equitable access to environmental benefits. Central to the mission of the Commission is serving all people of California; people of all backgrounds, cultures, circumstances, lived experiences and worldviews hold essential perspectives that strengthen our collective decision-making. Respect for all persons is fundamental to our organization. The Commission commits to focusing on these values as they are fundamental to creating a just, equitable and inclusive future.

Actions to Which We Commit

In support of its vision and values, the Commission also commits to overarching actions to advance justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, including:

  • Conduct the Commission’s business in a manner that operationalizes justice, equity, diversity and inclusion;
  • Use our sphere of influence to counteract historic legacies and systems of exclusion and the way that they hinder individual and community participation;
  • Create and maintain a space where all ideas, values and cultures are welcomed, heard and respected;
  • Provide accessible engagement opportunities to Commission decision-making for all affected and interested people;
  • Promote equity through more inclusive decision-making that considers and corrects for disproportionate burdens on historically marginalized communities, including California Native American tribes;
  • Expand understanding of and improve response to the needs of marginalized fish and wildlife users;
  • Amplify tribal voices and issues;
  • Invest in meaningful and long-term partnerships with communities and cultures that have relationships with activities, fish or wildlife that we regulate;
  • Consider implications of our decisions on subsistence activities;
  • Improve and champion equitable access to nature and abundant and healthy fish and wildlife populations;
  • Promote cultural, community, and economic opportunities related to fish and wildlife;
  • Ensure non-discriminatory and equitable practices in recruiting, training, and supporting a highly qualified, professional staff that reflects California’s diversity; and,
  • Encourage the governor to make appointments — including to the Commission — that are representative of California’s diverse communities.

Adopted 2/16/2022

Return to Policies


It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that:

The Commission does not take a formal position on state or federal legislation due to the rapidly changing nature of the legislative process. Rather, the Commission identifies goals or concepts it endorses to address specific issues or concerns that could be addressed through legislation; in developing the goals and concepts, the Commission does so consistent with its Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy. Information is shared with legislators and legislative staff through written letters and/or conversations with legislative staff. The Commission's approach allows it to be responsive and potentially impactful during the legislative process without relinquishing control over the subject matter it chooses to support or oppose.

To help support the Commission in discussing and considering potential or proposed legislation, the Department will provide at each regularly scheduled Commission meeting a written report summarizing the status of state legislation affecting California fish and wildlife, Department responsibilities or resources, or Commission responsibilities or resources, along with the Department's approved position on such legislation, if any.

Under extraordinary circumstances and at the discretion of the Commission president, proposed legislation may be placed on a Commission meeting agenda for consideration of a position or other action by the Commission. A commissioner, making clear that they are not representing the Commission in an official capacity, may support or oppose legislation apart from the Commission.

(Amended 12/4/1992, 11/17/2011, 2/14/2024)

Return to Policies

Retention of Commission Records

(Repealed 10/12/2023)

Return to Policies

Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year

It is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission to honor a courtroom champion of California's fish, wildlife and natural resources, a person who tirelessly prosecutes fish, wildlife, natural resource and environmental crimes in California courts. The Commission will recognize this prosecutor through an annual Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year Award.


Any currently seated prosecuting attorney, including, but not limited to, city attorney, district attorney or deputy attorney general is eligible for nomination and the contribution(s) must have occurred during the previous three years.


Based on input from wildlife officers and their experiences in the field, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's deputy director and chief, Law Enforcement Division, may submit up to four nominations. The nominations must be submitted to a selection committee (identified below) no later than March 15.

Selection Criteria

The award recognizes one attorney who exhibits one or more of the following:

  1. exceptional skill and an outstanding commitment to protecting California's fish, wildlife and natural resources;
  2. superior performance in prosecuting wildlife, natural resource and environmental crimes;
  3. relentless pursuit of justice for the most egregious violators and keen ability to prosecute complex, controversial or landmark cases; or
  4. exemplary work promoting and maintaining a collaborative working relationship with wildlife officers in pursuit of conserving our natural resources.

Selection Committee

The selection committee will consist of the president and the executive director of the Commission, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife's director and deputy director, Law Enforcement Division.

Award Announcement

The award will be announced at the Commission's meeting in June and presented to the recipient during a future event agreed upon by the selection committee where the prosecutor can be recognized for his or her efforts. The Commission will distribute a news release announcing the prosecutor of the year and showcasing the exemplary work and contributions to protecting California's fish and wildlife resources.

(Adopted: 06/22/2016; Amended; 08/07/2019)

Return to Policies