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Fish and Game Commission Acts to Protect Red Abalone

July, 2013

Young red abalone at Point Lobos State Marine Reserve. Photo by Dr. Steve Lonhart, NOAA MBNMS.

The California Fish and Game Commission took action June 2013 to modify abalone fishery regulations along the northern California coast. Specifically, the Commission voted to reduce the annual limit per person to 18 abalone (previously 24), with no more than nine taken from Sonoma and Marin counties. Other changes to abalone regulations included a coast-wide start time for the fishing day of 8 a.m. and a closure at Ft. Ross in Sonoma County. The changes are expected to go into effect for the 2014 abalone season.

“The new management measures we’ve adopted today will help ensure that the red abalone remains abundant on the North Coast and the popular recreational fishery there continues to thrive,” said Commission President Michael Sutton. “Our job is to keep wildlife populations in California healthy and not wait for a crisis to take action.”

Northern California red abalone are managed adaptively by the Commission, using traditional management measures coupled with fishery independent surveys to maintain the catch at sustainable levels, as prescribed by the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP). Ongoing data surveys by the Department of Fish and Wildlife detected the effects of a recent abalone die-off along the Sonoma coast. The declines in abalone density triggered the changes to management measures, because the densities dropped below levels that are prescribed in the ARMP for management action.  The new regulations are intended to provide an opportunity for abalone populations in Sonoma and Marin to increase, and to help Mendocino County maintain a productive fishery. The set start time for the fishing day will also aid enforcement.

For more information about red abalone, visit the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/abalone.asp .

California Department of Fish and Wildlife News Release

Media Contact: Jordan Traverso, CDFW Communications, (916) 654-9937

Public Contact: Craig Shuman, Marine Regional Manager, (805) 568-1246