The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking public input to assist in the development of a red abalone fishery management plan (FMP). An online survey to collect public opinions on red abalone management can be accessed on the CDFW website.
To complete the survey by mail instead of through the website, please call (707) 964-5791 to request the survey forms or write to: CDFW, attn. Jerry Kashiwada, 32330 North Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg, CA 95437. The survey will close April 16, so interested parties should participate as soon as possible.
A similar survey was conducted in 2015 (results available online) but CDFW is interested in learning if recent unprecedented environmental conditions have changed preferences on abalone management. The online survey is intended to reach a broad audience and help ensure the abalone management framework developed under the FMP addresses the interests and concerns of the public.
More details about abalone management and the FMP process can be found on the CDFW website.
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Media Contacts: Jerry Kashiwada, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-5791 Carrie Wilson, CDFW Communications, (831) 649-7191
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers and divers that Jan. 31, 2017 is the due date for turning in steelhead, sturgeon, abalone and north coast salmon report card data.
Information collected from sport fishing report cards provides CDFW biologists with important data necessary to monitor and manage California’s diverse recreational fisheries, including preparing recommendations for sport fishing seasons and limits that allow for sustainable levels of take. This science-based management helps to ensure healthy populations of fish for future generations.
Anglers and divers are required to return their report cards pursuant to section 1.74 of the California sport fishing regulations. Anglers and divers must report even if the report card was lost, they did not fish or they did not catch any fish. Cards should be reviewed carefully for accuracy prior to submitting them.
There are two ways to meet the mandatory angler reporting requirement. Online reporting (www.wildlife.ca.gov/reportcards) is easy, fast and free. Online reporting includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted.
Sport fishing report cards may also be returned by mail to the addresses listed below:
North Coast Salmon Report Cards CDFW – Klamath River Project
5341 Ericson Way Arcata, CA 95521-9269
Abalone Report Cards
CDFW – Abalone Report Card
32330 N. Harbor Drive
Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554
Regulations for California’s popular red abalone sport fishery have changed in 2017. Due to concerns about the declining population, the season will be shortened and the take limit reduced.
The 2017 season will be shortened by two months, with the traditional opening date of April 1 now delayed until May 1. The fishery will also close a month earlier than usual, on Oct. 31.
The annual (calendar year) limit is changing from 18 abalone to 12. As in the past, no more than nine abalone may be taken south of the boundary between Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
The red abalone catch is being reduced because surveys conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) found that red abalone populations in deeper waters are on the decline due to unfavorable environmental conditions. Over the past three years, growth of kelp — a major food source for abalone – has declined significantly. Dramatic increases in purple sea urchin populations have further reduced the food available for abalone. Details can be found at https://cdfwmarine.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/perfect-storm-decimates-kelp/.
Other regulations relative to abalone remain unchanged. Fishing for abalone will be allowed from 8 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset in waters north of San Francisco Bay. People may travel to fishing locations before 8 a.m. but may not actively search for or take any abalone before that time. The daily bag and possession limit remains at three. Parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park remain closed to the take of abalone. A map of the closed area can be found online at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=42101&inline=true.
Northern California’s recreational red abalone fishery is enjoyed by tens of thousands of divers along the Sonoma and Mendocino coast. A recent CDFW study estimated that approximately 31,000 abalone divers derived between $24 million and $44 million per year of recreational value from the fishery. The value of this fishery declined nearly $12 million after stricter regulations were imposed in 2014 following a harmful algal bloom that killed thousands of abalone in Sonoma County. Information about the study can be found at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=136510.
The changes to the abalone regulations were approved by the Fish and Game Commission at their Dec. 7 meeting, under emergency rulemaking provisions that allow fast-tracking of the approval process when there is an urgent need for regulatory change.
Media Contacts: Jerry Kashiwada, CDFW Marine Region, (707) 964-5791 Kirsten Macintyre, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8988
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director’s Recreational Abalone Advisory Committee (RAAC) will be holding a public meeting to discuss proposed regulation changes relative to the recreational red abalone fishery for 2017.
The meeting will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Marin-Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District Boardroom, 595 Helman Lane, Cotati (94931).
The emergency rulemaking proposal is being drafted by CDFW in response to adverse environmental conditions. The changes outlined in the proposal are intended to reduce pressure on the fishery under the guidance of the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan.
Fishery constituents and interested members of the public are encouraged to attend and provide comment.
Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodation to participate in public meetings or other CDFW activities are invited to contact CDFW’s Accessibility Coordinator Melissa Carlin at (916) 651-1214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Southern California men have been convicted and fined for abalone poaching and other resource crimes, stemming from a September 2015 California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) enforcement case.
CDFW wildlife officers assigned to the patrol boat Thresher discovered the two men poaching abalone at Catalina Island. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office subsequently prosecuted both individuals.
Hee Won Chai, 75, of Los Angeles was charged with taking and possessing six pink abalone. Chai pleaded no contest to all six poaching counts. He was ordered by the court to pay $61,626 in fines and penalties, and $1,000 to the CDFW Preservation Fund. Additionally all of his SCUBA equipment was forfeited by the court and his fishing privileges permanently revoked.
Jin Chai Jeong, 58, of Garden Grove was charged with taking and possessing two pink abalone, three green abalone and four spiny lobsters out of season, as well as attempting to destroy evidence. Jeong pleaded no contest to all of the abalone and lobster charges. He was also ordered by the court to pay $61,626 in fines and penalties and $1,000 to the CDFW Preservation Fund, and his SCUBA gear was forfeited by the court and his fishing privileges permanently revoked.
“An extraordinary amount of time and effort is invested in helping the Southern California abalone populations rebound, including the sacrifice of honest abalone harvesters who cannot currently fish for abalone south of San Francisco,” said CDFW Law Enforcement Asst. Chief Mike Stefanak. “Years ago, abalone poaching laws were significantly strengthened as part of the overall recovery plan to protect California’s abalone populations, but even so, we’ve seen an increase in poaching crimes. Once we find the offenders, we rely on the diligence of the District Attorneys’ offices and the courts to ensure that justice is served. Successful prosecutions such as these will hopefully serve as a deterrent for anyone considering committing these crimes against the environment.”
All of California’s abalone species are struggling, including two that are federally listed as endangered. Disease, predation, slow reproduction and poaching have necessitated a moratorium on abalone harvest south of San Francisco Bay since 1997. Red abalone populations north of San Francisco are the only populations stable enough to support very limited recreational harvest.
Anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful hunting, fishing or pollution is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334-2258 or send a text to tip411. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.