The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking stakeholder input regarding regulation options to reduce the take of abalone in 2014.
A key goal of abalone management is to provide for a productive and sustainable fishery. CDFW conducts annual field surveys to assess abalone population status and track changes in density (the number of abalone per given area) at established survey sites. Results from recent surveys have shown downward trends in abalone numbers, particularly in Sonoma County. These trends appear to have worsened as a result of the August 2011 die-off that was related to an unusual harmful algal bloom, also known as a red tide.
Because the abalone decline has reached predetermined trigger points for taking management action, the CDFW must develop options for fishing regulations that will reduce the take of abalone, thereby reducing the risk of overfishing and improving the health of the resource. These proposed regulations will be presented to the Fish and Game Commission for consideration later this year.
Two management actions are mandated by the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan (ARMP) for consideration based on the density triggers reached: reducing the overall red abalone fishery take by 25 percent, and closing the Fort Ross area to allow for recovery at that particular site, where abundance is especially low.
Constituent involvement is an important part of successful fishery management. Therefore, CDFW is conducting an online survey, available at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/abalonesurvey , to gather input from people who are interested in the abalone fishery. Anyone with an interest in this fishery is encouraged to take a few minutes to provide feedback on the various options presented in the survey.
The ARMP is available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/armp/index.asp . For additional information, please contact Ian Taniguchi at firstname.lastname@example.org or (562) 342-7182.
Image courtesy California Department of Fish and Wildlife