Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Abalone Season Cranks Up

Abalone Season Opened April 1

California Department of Fish and Game News Release

Jerry Kashiwada, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-5791
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420

New Report Cards Available through Automated License Data System

California's popular red abalone season opened April 1 in waters north of
San Francisco Bay. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds divers and
rock pickers that anyone taking abalone must record their catch on an
abalone report card, and tag the animal with corresponding tags from the

This year, all licenses and cards will be available through the new
Automated License Data System (ALDS), which automatically records purchases
in an active database.

"Abalone report cards are a vital source of information needed to manage
this resource, and the ALDS will allow us to track whether individuals have
returned their report cards as required by law," said DFG Associate Marine
Biologist Jerry Kashiwada. "In the past, we could not easily determine who
had not returned their cards."

Abalone report cards should be returned to the DFG Fort Bragg office at
32330 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554. Cards must be returned
by January 31 of the following year, although cards may be submitted early.
Abalone report cards must be returned even if no abalone is taken.

Because of the nature of the paper used for the ALDS abalone report card and
tags, scissors are needed to separate the tags from the card just prior to
attaching them to an abalone. In the past, scissors were not needed to
separate the pre-perforated tags.

Tags that are separated from the cards ahead of time are invalid. Holes may
be punched in the tags immediately after purchase, however. Other slight
modifications to the tagging procedure may be needed with the ALDS report

The Fish and Game Commission is currently considering proposals for marine
protected areas (MPAs) along the north coast, from Point Arena in Mendocino
County to the Oregon border. The north coast MPA process will not affect the
2011 abalone season. To find out more about the MPAs currently under
consideration, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/northcoast.asp.

Currently, the only open abalone fishery in California is in the northern
region of the state. This fishery is biologically sustainable and has
remained productive for nearly 60 years. In 2009, the most recent year for
which figures are available, the recreational catch in northern California
was an estimated 295,000 abalone.

Everyone engaging in the take of abalone is responsible for knowing and
abiding by all California abalone sport fishing regulations. A complete list
of abalone fishing regulations is also available in the 2011 Ocean Sport
Fishing regulations booklet, available wherever fishing licenses are sold,
at DFG offices and online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.


Western Sport Shop note:
Just to put a finer point on it - ALL of the new licenses and tags are generated using the new Automated License Data System (ALDS). That means that the Tyvek-type paper used on your fishing license is the same as that used on the Abalone (or Sturgeon, Salmon and Steelhead) report card will not tear. So - since you need to tag your abalone directly, you will need to have some method for cutting the tag and punching a hole into it. (And this license material is tough!)

We've been setting up anglers and ab divers with a small, sharp set of scissors, and have been working hard to keep in stock on the small, waterproof containers which can hold it all. If you take a few minutes to set up the proper type of kit, you won't waste fishing or diving time trying to find a buddy who has sharp scissors or a hole punch!

As a reminder - we have been selected as one of the ALDS centers in the Bay Area, are actively selling the new California Fishing Licenses, and should be able to answer most of your questions regarding licensing. 2011/2012 Hunting Licenses are NOT currently available, but we recommend that you bring your current Hunting License down now if you will be purchasing a hunting license - this will let us input your Hunter Safety Evidence (your current or previous year license, or your actual Hunter Safety Course Card) when we sell you a fishing license. That will speed things up when the deer tags and new hunting licenses are available in a few months.

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