Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Closure of Abalone Fishery Under Consideration

The California Fish and Game Commission will consider emergency action on
Thursday, Sept. 15 to possibly close the abalone fishery along the northern
California coast. This action is being considered in the wake of confirmed
reports of dead red abalone and other invertebrates on beaches and inside
coves along the coast in Sonoma County.

The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is currently attempting to assess the
impact of the situation and will provide the Commission with information at
this Thursday's meeting. Based on the DFG's report, the Commission may take
emergency action to close the abalone season along all or parts of the
Sonoma coast.

There was an abalone die-off along the Sonoma coast beginning Aug. 27 as a
result of a red tide-induced poisoning and/or lack of oxygen. According to
DFG biologists, these abalone deaths coincided with a local red tide bloom
and calm ocean conditions. Although the exact reasons for the abalone deaths
are not known, invertebrate die-offs have occurred in the past along the
northern California coast when similar weather and bloom conditions existed.

The number of dead and dying abalone is not known but DFG divers are
assessing the damage this week via underwater transect surveys. Reports of
dead abalone and a variety of invertebrates have come from Bodega Bay,
Russian Gulch, Fort Ross, Timber Cove and Salt Point State Park. Other DFG
biologists and game wardens have collected abalone, mussels and water
samples since the beginning of the bloom and are continuing to document
reports from the public.

For more information, please refer to DFG's Sept. 2 press release,

Abalone fishermen are advised to contact a physician immediately if they
feel sick, and to report symptoms to the local county health department
(www.sonoma-county.org/health/about/publichealth.asp). The latest red tide
updates from the California Department of Public Health are also posted
online at www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Pages/DDWEM.aspx.

Ian Taniguchi, DFG Marine Region, (562) 342-7182
Kirsten Macintyre, DFG Communications, (916) 322-8988

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