Why not dive for abalone year-round?


The abalone season is one tool for managing the overall harvest of abalone (DFG photo by Derek Stein)

Question: I’m an avid abalone diver who has been diving for more than 28 years and I am curious why we have a set season for abalone diving. Since we have abalone report cards and are limited to three per day and 24 abalone per year, why does it matter what time of year we take those abalone? I can understand the reason for a season when the only limit was four abs per day and all you wanted during season. But currently we are only allowed 24, so what difference does it make what time of year I take my 24 abs? I feel we should be able to go all year round. From my understanding, abalone do not have a set breeding season since they are broadcast spawners and breed all year long depending on the tides and currents. (Matt M.)

Answer: The abalone season is one tool for reducing the take of abalone and it works in conjunction with other regulations to limit the overall number of abalone taken. According to Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Associate Marine Biologist Jerry Kashiwada, the abalone fishery is not regulated with a fixed quota like some fisheries. The report card limit is only designed to reduce excessive take and is not based on the number of abalone each person should be allowed to take.

The abalone report card was established because game wardens were seeing people driving up to the abalone grounds every day of the season to get a limit of abalone. The current limit of 24 was thought by the Fish and Game Commission to be a reasonable number of abalone for a person to take for the season, but it was never intended that everyone take 24 abalone. The average number of abalone taken per card has been between eight and 10. Although this may sound like a low number, the large number of report cards sold each year results in an annual legal harvest of more than 260,000 abalone. Wardens suspect the actual impact on abalone populations is much larger because abalone divers and pickers are commonly cited for failing to tag abalone, not marking their abalone cards and for high-grading (the illegal practice of continuing to detach abalone after a bag limit of legal sized abalone has been taken). High-grading also increases the number of abalone that die due to fishery activities.

Even with the current limits and regulations, there is concern that some heavily used fishing sites are showing signs of reduced abalone populations. The Fish and Game Commission is not likely to make any regulation changes which would increase the number of abalone being taken.

Electronic calls or bait legal for coyote and predator hunting?
Question: I have been told it is illegal to use electronic calls for ducks and turkeys, but I was wondering if electronic calls or bait can be used for hunting coyotes or other predators. Also, I know there are restrictions on mechanical (electrical) decoys being used during the first portion of the duck season, but can a mechanical (moving/shaking) rabbit decoy be used for coyotes? (Mark, San Bruno)

Answer: Electronic calls (specifically authorized) and mechanically-moving rabbit decoys (not prohibited) may be used to take coyotes (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 475).

Any documents necessary to possess and transport deer mounts?
Question: I have questions regarding deer trophies taken legally during regular deer season and their possession and transportation months or years afterward. What paperwork, if any, must be kept? How long must this be kept? Are people in possession of deer heads in violation if they don’t keep their old deer tags? (Geoff V.)

Answer: There is no paperwork required by California Fish and Game laws to possess old taxidermied deer mounts. There are also no restrictions on possession or transport, however, it is illegal to sell, barter or trade them regardless of their age. It’s always best if the tags are attached, but it’s not required.

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Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game. While she cannot personally answer everyone’s questions, she will select a few to answer each week. Please contact her at CalOutdoors@dfg.ca.gov.

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