Recreational Abalone Season Reopens Aug. 1

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Posted by DFG on July 29, 2005 at 08:09:29:

California Department of Fish and Game
Contacts: Jerry Kashiwada, Marine Region, (707) 964-5791; Carrie Wilson, Marine Communications, (831) 649-7191

Recreational Abalone Season Reopens Aug. 1

Red abalone, one of California's most popular ocean sport fisheries and one that draws thousands of people to the waters and beaches north of the San Francisco Bay each year, will reopen to licensed fishermen on Aug. 1. The season runs from April 1 through June 30, and from Aug. 1 through Nov. 30. The month of July is closed each year to reduce the overall catch during the summer, a traditional high-take period. The July closure has been used for this purpose since 1976.

The take of abalone is allowed only in ocean waters from San Francisco Bay to the Oregon border and only to people free diving (without SCUBA) or those who wade out from shore. Regulations include a 7-inch minimum size limit, measured along the longest shell diameter, and possession of a fixed measuring device. The daily abalone bag limit for the 2005 season is three, with a yearly limit of 24.

All persons 16 years and older must possess both an abalone permit report card and a fishing license to legally take abalone. Persons under the age of 16, although not required to possess a license or permit report card, still must follow all state regulations pertaining to sport fishing for abalone.

This is the sixth year an abalone permit report card (also called a "punch card") is required in addition to a fishing license for each person taking abalone. Those taking abalone are required to punch a hole in the appropriate area on the card and record catch information for each abalone taken once they reach shore or a boat.

Returning abalone permit report cards is mandatory. Abalone permit report cards must be returned to the DFG by Dec. 30, whether any abalone are taken or not. Abalone permit report card information will assist in determining the distribution of the red abalone catch and the total number of abalone caught. Approximately 264,000 abalone were taken each year during 2002 and 2003. The locations with the most abalone taken included the Fort Ross State Park area (including Reef Campground) and Van Damme State Park.

In addition to sport divers being prohibited from using SCUBA or surface supplied air equipment to catch abalone, they also may not possess abalone on board any boat, vessel, or floating device containing scuba or surface supplied air. Fishermen are allowed to transport abalone and scuba gear together on land. Divers working from boats, kayaks, float tubes or other floating devices who wish to use scuba equipment to spear fish or harvest sea urchins, rock scallops or crabs of the genus Cancer may not possess abalone, and will need to make a separate trip to take abalone. Additional information about California abalone is available on DFG's Marine Region Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd.


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