Regulations

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DFG News Release
Abalone fishing season opens April 1 north of San Francisco Bay

View 2008 Regulations (Don't forget to watch the Abalone Tag instructional video)
Source: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/education/video/AbaloneRegulations.html

Abalone Sport Fishing Regulations

29.15. Abalone.
(a) Geographical Area: Abalone may only be taken north of a line drawn due west magnetic from the center of the mouth of San Francisco Bay. No abalone may be taken, landed, or possessed if landed south of this line.
(b) Open Season and Hours: Abalone may be taken only during the months of April, May, June, August, September, October and November from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
(c) Bag Limit and Yearly Trip Limit: Three red abalone, Haliotis rufescens, may be taken per day. No more than three abalone may be possessed at any time. No other species of abalone may be taken or possessed. Each person taking abalone shall stop detaching abalone when the limit of three is reached. No person shall take more than 24 abalone during a calendar year.
(d) Minimum Abalone Size: All red abalone must be seven inches or greater measured along the longest shell diameter. All legal-sized abalone detached must be retained. No undersize abalone may be brought ashore or aboard any boat, placed in any type of receiver, kept on the person, or retained in any person’s possession or under his control. Undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached. Abalone brought ashore shall be in such a condition that the size can be determined.
(e) Special Gear Provisions: The use of SCUBA gear or surface-supplied air to take abalone is prohibited. Abalone may not be taken or possessed aboard any boat, vessel, or floating device in the water containing SCUBA or surface-supplied air. Abalone may be taken only by hand or by devices commonly known as abalone irons. Abalone irons must be less than 36 inches long, straight or with a curve having a radius of not less than 18 inches, and must not be less than 3/4 inch wide nor less than 1/16 inch thick. All edges must be rounded and free of sharp edges. Knives, screwdrivers and sharp instruments are prohibited.
(f) Measuring Device: Every person while taking abalone shall carry a fixed-caliper measuring gauge capable of accurately measuring seven inches. The measuring device shall have fixed opposing arms of sufficient length to measure the abalone by placing the gauge over the shell.
(g) Abalone Possession and Transportation: Abalones shall not be removed from their shell, except when being prepared for immediate consumption.
(h) Report Card Required: Any person fishing for or taking abalone shall have in their possession a non-transferable Abalone Report Card issued by the department and shall adhere to all reporting and tagging requirements for abalone defined in Sections 1.74 and 29.16, Title 14, CCR.

29.16 . Abalone Report Card and Tagging Requirements
(a) Abalone Report Card Required. All individuals including divers must have an Abalone Report Card in their immediate possession while fishing for or taking red abalone. Individuals must complete and return the card pursuant to regulations in this Section and in Section 1.74.
(b) Tagging Requirements. An Abalone Report Card includes detachable tags that shall be used to tag any abalone that is taken and retained in the sport fishery. Any red abalone possessed by any person shall be tagged.
(1) Cardholders shall tag any red abalone either immediately upon exiting the water or immediately upon boarding a vessel, whichever occurs first. For the purposes of this section a vessel is defined as any watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water (reference Section 9840(a) CVC). Cardholders shall not wait to return to their vehicle, beach site or other location to tag any abalone in possession. EXCEPTION: Cardholders who dive from a non-motorized vessel such as a kayak that is in the water may wait until immediately after disembarking from the nonmotorized vessel to tag and record any abalone in possession, but shall not transfer any abalone from his or her immediate possession unless they are first tagged and recorded on the report card.
(2) The cardholder shall fill in the month, day, time of catch, and fishing location on the abalone tag, remove and completely detach the tag from the card, and affix it to the shell of the abalone.
(3) The tag shall be securely fastened to the shell of the abalone. To affix the tag, a “zip tie”, string, line or other suitable material shall be passed through a siphon hole on the abalone shell and through the tag at the location specified on the abalone tag.
(4) Tags shall be used in sequential order, and shall not be removed from the report card until immediately prior to affixing to an abalone. Any tags detached from the report card and not affixed to an abalone shall be considered used and therefore invalid.
(5) No person shall possess any used or otherwise invalid abalone tags not attached to an abalone shell.
(c) Reporting Requirements. Immediately upon tagging all abalone in possession, the cardholder shall record the month, day, time of catch, and fishing location in the appropriate spaces on the numbered line on the Abalone Report Card which corresponds to the number on the tag attached to the abalone.
(d) Records of Prior Activity. All tags must be accounted for at all times by entry of a record on the Abalone Report Card corresponding to all tags that are not in possession. Any tag that was lost or destroyed shall be recorded as such on the corresponding line on the Abalone Report Card. Any tag that was inadvertently removed and is still in possession shall be recorded as void on both the tag and the corresponding line on the Abalone Report Card.
(e) Abalone tags must be left affixed to the shell, including while stored at a residence or non-transient location, until the abalone is processed for immediate consumption.
(f) The annual fee for the Abalone Report Card is specified in Section 7149.8 of the Fish and Game Code.

Past Regulations (2002):

The Fish and Game Commission acted to reduce the take of red abalone in response to biological concerns that the northern California recreational abalone fishery was not sustainable. In its December 2001 meeting, the Commission enacted the following abalone regulation changes beginning with the 2002 season:

* Daily bag and possession limit reduced from 4 to 3.

* Abalone Report Card (punch card) limit reduced from 100 to 24.

* Abalone Report Cards must be returned to the Department within 30 days of the close of the season rather than the end of the calendar year.

The Department added a location code to the punch card to collect more precise data on location of take. These data 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.

The new regulations reflect a fundamental change in fishery management philosophy which emphasizes a cautious approach. 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.

Legal:

29.15. Abalone.

(a) Geographical Area: Abalone may only be taken north of a line drawn due west magnetic from the center of the mouth of San Francisco Bay. No abalone may be taken, landed, or possessed if landed south of this line.

(b) Open Season and Hours: Abalone may be taken only during the months of April, May, June, August, September, October and November from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

(c) Bag Limit and Yearly Trip Limit: Three red abalone, Haliotis rufescens, may be taken per day. No more than three abalone may be possessed at any time. No other species of abalone may be taken or possessed. Each person taking abalone shall stop detaching abalone when the limit of three is reached. No person shall take more than 24 abalone during a calendar year. See sub-section (h) of Section 29.15 below.

(d) Minimum Abalone Size: All red abalone must be seven inches or greater measured along the longest shell diameter. All legal size abalone detached must be retained. No undersized abalone may be brought ashore or aboard any boat, placed in any type of receiver, kept on the person, or retained in any person’s possession or under his control. Undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached. Abalones brought ashore shall be in such a condition that the size can be determined.

(e) Special Gear Provisions: The use of SCUBA gear or surface supplied air to take abalone is prohibited. Abalone may not be taken or possessed aboard any boat, vessel, or floating device in the water containing SCUBA or surface supplied air. Abalone may be taken only by hand or by devices commonly known as abalone irons. Abalone irons must be less than 36 inches long, straight or with a curve having a radius of not less than 18 inches , and must not be less than 3/4 inch wide nor less than 1/16 inch thick. All edges must be rounded and free of sharp edges. Knives, screwdrivers and sharp instruments are prohibited.

(f) Measuring Device: Every person while taking abalone shall carry a fixed caliper measuring gauge capable of accurately measuring seven inches. The measuring device shall have fixed opposing arms of sufficient length to measure the abalone by placing the gauge over the shell.

(g) Abalone Possession and Transportation: Abalones must not be removed from their shell, except when being prepared for immediate consumption.

(h) Abalone Report Card. All persons must have a nontransferable Abalone Report Card (FG 2915 (New 12/99)) issued by the department while taking abalone. Upon purchase of the report card, the card number shall be entered in ink on the back of the angler’s sport fishing license. The sport fishing license number shall be entered on the report card in the appropriate box. The abalone report card shall be kept with the fishing license while taking or attempting to take abalone. Persons diving from a boat shall keep the license and abalone report card in the boat. Persons diving from the shore shall keep the license and abalone report card within 500 yards on the shore. Persons must, immediately upon taking and/or bringing ashore an abalone, make 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 hole. For the purposes of this section a boat is defined as any watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water (reference Section 9840(a), Vehicle Code and Section 6552(q), Title 14, California Code of Regulations).
An Abalone Report Card shall be valid during the open season for taking abalone in the calendar year for which it was issued. No person may be issued or possess more than one Abalone Report Card or any abalone report card other than their own. No person shall take more than 24 abalone in a calendar year. The Abalone Report Card must be returned to the Department of Fish and Game at 19160 South Harbor Drive, Fort Bragg, California 95437-5798, within 30 days of the close of the abalone season.

Fish and Game Commission
1416 Ninth Street, Room 1320
Sacramento, CA 95814

Note: Regulations change and may not be current. It is the diver's responsibility to read and follow current regulation guidelines. There is no excuse for negligent acts, please read the current regulations before diving.