abalone

Size limits for these succulent, one-shelled molluscs are based on the shell's smallest diameter. In California, the limits were:

Species Commercial
not less than
Sport
not less than
Red 7¾ inches 7 inches
Green 7 inches 6 inches
Pink or White 6¼ inches 6 inches
Black formerly 5¾ inches
(taking blacks is illegal)
formerly 5 inches
(taking blacks is illegal)
All other 4 inches 4 inches

The California Department of Fish and Game is engaged in a desperate struggle to preserve the state's abalone fishery. Commercial fishing for abalone, and all abalone fishing south of an east-west line through the center of the mouth of San Francisco Bay, is prohibited. Beginning with the 2002 season, the daily bag and possession limit was reduced from 4 to 3, and annual limit was set at 24 (down from 100). Use of SCUBA gear in catching abalone has always been illegal in the northern half of the state; fishers free dive or shore pick.

Over the years the average size of the abalone taken has tended to decline, but the largest red abalone ever measured by the California Department of Fish and Game was taken in September 1993; its shell had a minimum diameter of 12 inches.

In British Columbia, Canada, fishing for the Northern Abalone is now banned. The size limit was formerly 100 millimeters.

Big abalone are not tougher than little abalone; they are all tough until pounded.

Resources

http://seafood.ucdavis.edu/pubs/abalone.htm

A comprehensive discussion of California species, natural history and catch. 

www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/abalone.html ; www.dfg.ca.gov/mrd/ab_info.html 

Home page for the Calif. Dept of Fish and Game's collection of pages on abalone, and the main information page

www.speciesatrisk.gc.ca/search/speciesDetails_e.cfm?speciesID=603">

The situation in Canada.

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