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2017 Sport Abalone Fishing Survey

Background: Sport Abalone Fishery Information

This survey will aid the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) by gathering information on preferences and concerns of the fishing public regarding management of northern California’s red abalone fishery. Red abalone is a resource managed by the CDFW under the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP). Currently, the ARMP is designed to maintain the fishery in a condition that provides very high quality and quantity fishing opportunities by adjusting regulations in response to data on red abalone density (number of abalone in a specific area) at selected sites. Visit ARMP and current fishery management for further details.

In recent years, a series of environmental events have combined into a link opens in new window“perfect storm” (YouTube Video) of ecological impacts that have significantly impacted red abalone populations. In December 2016, the Commission approved temporary emergency regulations in response to link opens in new tab or windowdeteriorating abalone population health due to the recent poor environmental conditions. The Commission will consider long-term regulations if environmental conditions remain poor for abalone. This survey provides an opportunity for fishers to contribute their opinions, and will be used by CDFW to inform the development of the management framework in the Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan and recommendations to the Commission for the fishery.

  • Contact Information

    If you would like to receive additional information about the Management Plan including notices of public meetings, please provide your name and either an email address or a mailing address.

  • Street Address

    Street Address 2


    State / Province

    Postal / Zip Code

  • Section 1. Recreational Fishing Participation

    For this section, please fill in the boxes for each question to account for your recreational fishing experience.

  • Section 2. Supplemental Information

    We will keep responses to this survey anonymous when possible, but we can access additional data such as abalone taken, date and site fished if you provide your GO ID Number as found on your sport fishing license (optional).
  • Section 3. Your Abalone Fishing Priorities.

    For this section please consider the various aspects of fishing for abalone and their value to you.
  • 6. How would you rate the following aspects of your abalone fishing trips for the red abalone season?

    It is important that I…

  • Section 4. Your Preferences for Abalone Management

    In the following section, we present abalone management ideas and some potential compromises (trade-offs) that may be required. Please state your level of support for the various management tools and strategies in questions 8-13.
  • 8. The management of the red abalone fishery may differ depending on whether a priority is to maintain fishing opportunities (seasons, limits, open areas) or to maintain high catch rates. Making fishing opportunity a priority could result in lower numbers of abalone accessible to fishers and people might have less success in getting abalone. If maintaining a high catch rate is a priority then fishing opportunities may have to be restricted to conserve high abalone abundances.

    Would you support fishery management strategies that…

  • 9. Management decisions are currently made based on the status of abalone populations at select sites in Sonoma and Mendocino counties (representing 48% of the fishery catch), and regulations are applied to the entire fishery area (San Francisco to the Oregon border) with the exception of a lower annual limit for Sonoma and Marin counties. In the future, the fishery could be managed more regionally, with decisions and regulations based on assessments within each specific region. Although zonal management allows differences in regulations to match differences in local abalone abundance, it may result in increased report card fees and increased complexity of regulations.
  • 10. Current management requires a site closed due to low population levels to fully recover to optimal levels before the site is re-opened to fishing.

  • 11. Fishery monitoring assumes relatively stable environmental conditions for the abalone fishery. In order to provide more data related to environmental effects, more effort will be required for assessments and will require additional funds. The additional data will provide information on the effects of the environment on fishery productivity. The data could also be used to manage the fishery in smaller geographical units or allow management to operate under less restrictive conditions.

  • 12. An alternative approach to managing fishing effort through season length, size limits, daily bag limits, or area closures, could be regulating the number of fishermen that may fish in any particular management zone or in the fishery as a whole.

  • 13. The emergency regulation change mainly reduced the abalone catch by reducing the annual (abalone card) limit to 12 and closing the months of April and November. A similar reduction could be made by reducing the annual limit to 9 and maintaining the traditional April through November season.

  • Section 5. Management and the Marine Environment

    The following questions relate to current environmental conditions and issues in the marine environment that may impact the health of the fishery.
  • 14. Which of the following topics affecting abalone health are you aware of?

  • 16.  Future conditions may require more restrictive management to maintain the sustainability of the fishery. Please rank your preference for each of the following restrictive management tools on a scale of 1-6, with 1 = prefer most and 6 = prefer least.

  • 17. If environmental conditions improve and abalone densities increase, management restrictions could be lifted. Please rank your preference for each of the following management changes on a scale of 1-7, with 1 = prefer most and 7 = prefer least.

  • Section 6. Regulations

    The following questions relate to regulatory changes for the red abalone fishery. Please answer questions 18-20 based on your past abalone fishing experience.
  • 18. How did the following changes to abalone fishing regulations in 2014 affect your catch?

  • 19. How do you think the temporary emergency regulations effective 2017 will affect your catch based on your past fishing experience?

  • Thank you very much for taking the time to provide your thoughts on the management of the red abalone fishery. We will post results on the Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan site shown in the Background Information section at the top of this survey. For more information, contact:
         Jerry Kashiwada
         (707) 964-5791

Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940  |  (831) 649-2870
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Red abalone attached to boulder. CDFW photo by Derek Stein.

Return your abalone report cards by Jan. 31 following the season closure to:

Abalone Report Card
32330 N. Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

You can also submit harvest data online.

Marine Protected Areas