Jerry Kashiwada, DFG Marine Region, (707) 964-5791
Dana Michaels, DFG Communications, (916) 322-2420
California’s popular red abalone season will open April 1 in waters north of San Francisco Bay. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds divers and rock pickers that anyone taking abalone must record their catch on an abalone report card, and tag the animal with corresponding tags from the cards.
This year, all licenses and cards will be available through the new Automated License Data System (ALDS), which automatically records purchases in an active database.
“Abalone report cards are a vital source of information needed to manage this resource, and the ALDS will allow us to track whether individuals have returned their report cards as required by law,” said DFG Associate Marine Biologist Jerry Kashiwada. “In the past, we could not easily determine who had not returned their cards.”
Abalone report cards should be returned to the DFG Fort Bragg office at 32330 North Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554. This season’s return deadline is January 31, 2012, although cards may be submitted early. Abalone report cards must be returned even if no abalone is taken.
Because of the nature of the paper used for the ALDS abalone report card and tags, scissors are needed to separate the tags from the card just prior to attaching them to an abalone. In the past, scissors were not needed to separate the pre-perforated tags.
Tags that are separated from the cards ahead of time are invalid. Holes may be punched in the tags immediately after purchase, however. Other slight modifications to the tagging procedure, such as using scissors to cut off tags, may be needed with the ALDS report cards.
The Fish and Game Commission is currently considering proposals for marine protected areas (MPAs) along the north coast, from Point Arena in Mendocino County to the Oregon border. The north coast MPA process will not affect the 2011 abalone season. To find out more about the MPAs currently under consideration, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/northcoast.asp.
Currently, the only open abalone fishery in California is in the northern region of the state. This fishery is biologically sustainable and has remained productive for nearly 60 years. In 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available, the recreational catch in northern California was an estimated 295,000 abalone.
Everyone engaging in the take of abalone is responsible for knowing and abiding by all California abalone sport fishing regulations. A complete list of abalone fishing regulations is also available in the 2011 Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet, available wherever fishing licenses are sold, at DFG offices and online at www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations.