New Daily/Yearly Bag Limits Will Greet Abalone Divers for

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DFG News Release:  For Immediate Release

March 15, 2002

New Daily/Yearly Bag Limits Will Greet Abalone Divers for April 1 Split-Season Opener

Contact: Kon Karpov, DFG Senior Marine Biologist, (707) 964-7298
Steve Martarano, DFG Information Officer, (916) 654-5866

When recreational abalone fishing begins on Monday, April 1, 2002 for a seven-month split season, new daily and yearly bag limits will be in effect. The process for turning in abalone report punch cards has also changed.

Last December, the Fish and Game Commission approved new 2002-2003 sportfishing regulations that reduces recreational bag limits on abalone to three per day, 24 per year, down from four per day, and 100 per year. The abalone sport season runs each year from April 1 to June 30, and then from Aug. 1 to Nov. 30, only in ocean waters north of San Francisco Bay. North coast red abalone can only be taken by sport divers for personal consumption.

"The new regulations reflect a fundamental change in fishery management philosophy which emphasizes a cautious approach," said Senior Marine Biologist Kon Karpov, DFG's abalone team leader. "Caution in managing abalone fisheries is especially warranted since abalone fisheries worldwide have declined due to overfishing and other causes. Such management should be of great help in maintaining a productive abalone fishery into the future."
This will be the third year an abalone report punch card is required for each licensed abalone diver, and the process has changed somewhat. Abalone report cards must be returned to the DFG within 30 days of the close of the season, or Dec. 1, rather than the end of the calendar year.

DFG also added a location code to the punch card to collect more precise data on location of take. This information will assist in determining the distribution of the abalone catch. Rather than recording the county of capture, a code for specific sites will be entered. For sites other than those listed on the card, the county code should be entered. Immediately upon taking and/or bringing ashore an abalone, divers must punch a hole in the report card in one of the designated locations and record with indelible ink, the date, time, and location in the spaces provided adjacent to the punch. The holes do not need to be large; some people used safety pins to punch holes last year. The accuracy of the analysis depends upon the number of cards returned.

Return of abalone report cards is mandatory. It is important that all cards are returned whether any abalone are taken or not.

Regulations still include a 7- inch minimum size limit, measured along the longest shell diameter, and possession of a fixed measuring device.

Sport divers are prohibited from using scuba or other surface supplied air equipment to catch abalone and cannot possess abalone on board any boat, vessel, or floating device in the water containing scuba or surface supplied air. There is no problem transporting abalone and scuba gear while 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, will need to make a separate trip.
 

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