Some Regulations You Should Know Before You Dive or Rock Pick for Abalone
Abalone Diving and Rock Picking activities are regulated by the California Department of Fish & Game. If you are going to participate in the activity of "Free Diving" or "Rock Picking" for the taking of Abalone, you need to make sure you know the Regulations before you go.
To make it a little easier for you to get educated on this subject you'll find the text from the California Department of Fish & Game's on-line version of the 2011-2012 Regulations Booklet below. Although this is the most recent version Available at the time this information was added to this website, be aware that the DFG can change the rules at any time, and If you want to be sure you have the latest available information, you can always just follow this link and go right to the California Department of Fish & Game Website to double check. Once on the page, you'll want to click on first Heading 2011- 2012 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations, which will open a PDF file in a new window. This PDF file is the full on-line version of the regulations.
2011-2012 California Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations
Mollusks (including Abalone)
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, saltwater mollusks, including octopus, may be taken only on hook and line or with the hands. (b) The size of a mollusk is measured in greatest shell diameter.
(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.
Abalone Report Card and Tagging Instructions
(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 non-motorized 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.