Friday, March 27, 2009

Abalone Season Opens April 1st


Contact: Carrie Wilson, Office of Communications, (831) 649-7191

Jerry Kashiwada, Marine Region, (707) 964-5791

Abalone fishing season opens April 1 north of San Francisco Bay

California’s popular red abalone sport fishery season will open April
1 in waters north of San Francisco Bay. Anyone who takes abalone must
record their catch on an abalone report card and tag the animal with
tags corresponding to the report card.

“Abalone report cards have greatly increased the consistency of our
annual take estimates and are a vital source of information needed to
manage this resource,” said Department of Fish and Game (DFG)
Associate Marine Biologist Jerry Kashiwada. “The tags help address the
issue of people neglecting to fill out their cards and exceeding annual
limits. DFG game wardens are reporting improved compliance with abalone
report card requirements.”

The Fish and Game Commission (Commission) is currently considering
adoption of marine protected areas (MPAs) proposed along the north
central coast region (from Alder Creek/Point Arena to Pigeon Point). The
proposals consider discrete areas that may restrict the take of abalone,
but do not close the entire region to abalone harvest, and would not
affect the 2009 abalone season. To find out more about specific MPA
proposals and the location of proposed MPAs under consideration, please

Everyone engaging in the take of abalone is responsible for knowing and
abiding by all California Marine Sport Fishing Regulations pertaining to
abalone. DFG produced a short video that demonstrates the required
tagging procedures. To view this video online, please visit

A complete list of abalone fishing regulations is also available in the
2009 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which is available
wherever fishing licenses are sold or at

Abalone cling to rocks, from wave-swept intertidal ledges to deep ocean
reefs where they feed on kelp and other algae. It can take 12 years or
more for abalone on the north coast to grow to legal size for harvest
and those animals must supply the fishery for several years to come.
Similar to rockfish, they are a long-lived species but have low rates of

Currently, the only sustainable abalone fishery in California is in the
northern region of the state, which has remained productive for nearly
60 years. In 2007, the last year numbers are available, the estimated
catch was 309,000, a considerable increase from the previous high of

Abalone report cards must be returned to DFG within 60 days of the
close of the season (due Jan. 31, 2010). Report cards should be mailed
to DFG’s Fort Bragg field office and laboratory, 19160 South Harbor
Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5798. The cards can be submitted early.
Regulations also require that abalone report cards be returned even if
no abalone were taken.

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