Thoughts on Abalone fishery collapse concern here

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Posted by Chris Knight on May 08, 2009 at 14:27:08:

In Reply to: URGENT MLPA ACTION ALERT: SUPPORT 2 XA posted by RECREATIONAL FISHING ALLIANCE on May 08, 2009 at 10:30:58:

I don't know how to break the news but the abalone fishery collapsed a long time ago. What they have up north is a small remnant of what was formerly a statewide commercial and recreational fishery. Abalone are broadcast spawners and as long as a high enough population density exists in the protected areas, there should remain a permanent population.

Increased effort in remaining areas due to displacement is really a red herring as long as the fishery remains open access. Effort could increase anytime even if the fishery remains as is, or there could be a natural occurrence such as withering foot which would create a cascade effect on remaining stocks. This effect when coupled with continued effort would reduce population density to a point where successful spawning couldn't take place.

There hasn't been abalone taken at at San Miguel Island, the last significant pop of red abs in the CI range, in 10 years but the population hasn't recovered because of their density was too low for recovery when the fishery was closed.

Maintaining viable populations in various locations is the only way to guarantee there will always be some abalone. That's what the MPAs will bring.

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