Abalone Season Opens April 1 in Northern California Waters

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Posted by DFG News on March 28, 2005 at 09:16:26:

Abalone Season Opens April 1 in Northern California Waters
Jerry Kashiwada, Marine Biologist, (707) 964-5791
Carrie Wilson, Marine Biologist, (831) 649-7191

California's sport divers and pickers will soon be back in the water along the north coast in pursuit of the elusive and highly desirable red abalone. April 1 marks the opening of the state's seven-month split-season for this popular mollusk in waters north of San Francisco Bay, announced the Department of Fish and Game (DFG.)

Abalone divers and pickers are required to have a California fishing license (if 16 years of age or older) and an abalone permit report card. The 2005 abalone permit report card is currently available for $16.00 through all DFG offices and most license vendors.

The sport season for abalone runs each year during the same split-time periods. The recreational bag limits for abalone - three per day, 24 per year - remain the same as last season.

North coast red abalone can only be taken for personal consumption and not for sale or barter. Regulations include a 7-inch minimum size limit, measured along the longest shell diameter, and require possession of a fixed measuring device. Sport divers are prohibited from using SCUBA or other surface-supplied air equipment to catch abalone, and cannot possess abalone on board any boat, vessel, or floating device on the water that contains SCUBA or surface-supplied air. Abalone and scuba gear may be transported together on land, however divers working from boats, kayaks, float tubes or other floating devices who wish to use SCUBA equipment to take finfish or other animals will need to make a separate trip to take abalone.

Here is some important information concerning abalone permit report cards (also known as "punch cards"):

It is mandatory to return abalone punch cards to the DFG,either at the end of the season or when no further abalone will be taken for the season.
Abalone punch cards should be sent to: DFG, 19160 South Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5798. Cards must be received within 30 days of the Nov. 30 season closure, regardless of whether any abalone were taken.

For the full set of abalone fishing regulations, visit DFG's Marine Region Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/sportfishing_regs2005.html. For more information on California's abalone, go to the Marine Region's abalone resource Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/abalone.html.

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