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The California Fish and Game Commission took action to modify abalone fishery regulations along the Northern California coast.
Specifically, the Commission voted to reduce the annual limit 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 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.