Red Abalone Fishery Management Plan
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and Fish and Game Commission (FGC) conducted four workshops during September and October to receive public input regarding the California abalone fishery. The evening workshops were held in Sacramento, Fort Bragg, Santa Rosa, and San Rafael. The purpose was to give stakeholders an opportunity to express their ideas about how abalone management could be improved, and to allow them to provide their vision of a successful abalone fishery. Constituent involvement is essential for effective fishery management as well as a requirement for developing fishery management plans (FMPs) under the Marine Life Management Act.
At the workshops, participants engaged CDFW and FGC staff in dialogue to explore new ideas that could be considered as CDFW begins to prepare the FMP. Although participants were encouraged to suggest any concepts related to abalone management, it became apparent that most comments fell into one of eight general categories:
- Fishery Management
- Fishery Science
- Education and Outreach
- Population Recovery
Several common themes were expressed among the participants at the various venues:
- Participants expressed concern that survey work currently being conducted by CDFW may not be properly tracking the health of the overall population, and it was recommended that alternatives be explored to attain a better measurement of the overall health of the stock.
- Participants suggested that management could be improved by setting regulations on a smaller geographic scale to better reflect the uneven abundance of the stock from place to place, recognizing that the cost of data collection to support finer scale management could be significant.
- Participants recommended that CDFW explore ways to work with the public to obtain the necessary data in a more cost-effective manner.
- Participants expressed a preference for retaining or increasing fishing opportunity at the expense of ensuring high fishing success.
- Participants suggested that CDFW explore innovative ideas about how to cut back on effort when catches require a reduction for sustainability reasons.
- Participants expressed concern about how to appropriately reopen closed areas as they begin to show signs of recovery.
- Participants suggested that CDFW increase the focus on education and enforcement of the regulations.
- Participants felt there is a need for better socioeconomic information to feed into fishery management considerations.
Many other thoughtful concepts and ideas were discussed. The full summary from all the workshops can be viewed below.
CDFW will use the workshop input to help identify focus questions for a broad-based angler survey. The intent of an angler survey is to gain input from a wider cross-section of stakeholders interested in the abalone fishery. The survey will reach out to abalone report card holders to obtain their views on abalone management. At this early stage in the FMP process, CDFW is interested in constituent ideas about how to better manage this fishery. As we continue to move forward in drafting the FMP, these factors will be analyzed so that the trade-offs will be better understood for the various management options under consideration.
Comments captured from all four Phase I public workshops are listed below in broad topical categories. The bold capitalized acronym at the end of each comment signifies the location where the comment was made:
SAC: Sacramento, September 18
MEN: Mendocino, September 19
SRO: Santa Rosa, October 1
SRA: San Rafael, October 2
Click on the category below to access a list of comments. Similar comments heard at multiple workshops have been grouped together.