by Kurt Lieber
A good friend of Ocean Defender’s Steve Benivedas is on a panel that studies the abalone population in California. You may be aware, that abalone were hunted to near extinction off the coast of California and in recent years there has been some comeback, however, the Red Abalone are again in decline and restraint needs to be put on the fisheries to allow them to recover.
This week, I received an email from Steve outlining an opportunity for the public to take part in a survey which will help the Department of Fish and Wildlife put together a “rule making package” to present to the Fish and Game Commission later this year.
Here is some background information that Steve provided:
There has been a continuing erosion of the density of abalone at the Study Index Sites in Northern California. The reduction in densities is happening at all sites, even the deep water locations thought to provide a refuge at depth. The reductions in density has triggered provisions in the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan which require the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) managers to reduce the take which is depleting the available abalone resource. The Recreational Abalone Advisory Committee (“RAAC”) and others have helped the DFG come up with a plan to accomplish the required action.
Below is a call from our Committee for input from the sport diving public on proposed regulation alternatives. We would like to hear from you and the survey is available on-line or in hard copy and your help will provide meaningful input from the public as to which of the proposed alternatives divers prefer. The survey will not take long to fill out and your responses will help manage this important sport fishery.
I hope you will take a moment to go to the survey which has only seven simple questions (multiple choice) and an area for comments. Here are the comments I posted:
"Close the entire coast to abalone take for a specified amount of time. Just reducing the take amount will not stop poaching. Which I believe is the major threat. By halting any take for a period of time, the wardens will have much easier time spotting poachers, and the restaurants will be able to help out by not being able to sell any ab's during that time period."
PLEASE take a minute to submit your thoughts!
[They are collecting survey responses until Feb. 28. Their plan is to summarize the survey information and present to the Commission in either March or April.]