Saving California’s White Abalone

abalone shells
California abalone harvest from Monterey, circa 1930. This pile of shells is the result of one morning’s cleaning operations. photo by R.S. Croker

Abalone have long played an important role in the cultural and ecological history of California. They were a favorite food and decoration for coastal Native American civilizations for thousands of years. Continue reading

CDFW Reminds Divers and Hoopnetters: Time to Submit 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Cards

Scuba diver with a nice lobster.  CDFW photo by D. Stein

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to submit their report card data online or return their report cards by April 30, 2017 as required by law. Cardholders should review their cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate. Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery. Continue reading

California Fish and Game Commission Adopts the California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan

FMP cover page

At its April 13, 2016 meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) adopted a California Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan (FMP) that puts into place a cohesive management strategy to guide the future sustainable management of California’s recreational and commercial lobster fisheries, as required by the Marine Life Management Act.

The FGC’s adoption of the FMP is the culmination of four years of a collaborative development process that began in the spring Continue reading

“Perfect Storm” Decimates Northern California Kelp Forests

waves_A.Maguire
photo by A. Maguire
kelp cover maps
Comparison of kelp cover at four important abalone fishery sites in 2008 and 2014. Green indicates kelp canopy observed. Maps created from data collected during CDFW aerial surveys. (Data: M. Fredle)

Northern California kelp forests have been reduced to an all-time low due to a “perfect storm” of large-scale ecological impacts. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) marine invertebrate management team has conducted annual ecosystem surveys of kelp forests in Sonoma and Mendocino counties since the late 1990s, and recent observations have caused concern about the state of the kelp forests. The severe reduction in kelp has already impacted the recreational red abalone fishery and commercial red urchin fishery, two economically important fisheries in northern California.

Abalone and Urchins Starving
Bull kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), usually common on the northern California coast, has declined dramatically since 2014. Kelp forests are now 93 percent smaller compared to previous years, creating starvation conditions for herbivores. Continue reading

Reminder: California Crab Fishery Closures Continue

crab closure flyerUpdate – 12/1/2015  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds all recreational crabbers and commercial Dungeness crab fishers that the California Dungeness crab fisheries remain closed due to continued high levels of the neurotoxin domoic acid, found in crab samples from California ports.

The rock crab commercial and recreational fisheries north of the Santa Barbara-Ventura county line also remain closed at this time.

Crab collected from various ports along the coast from Crescent City to Santa Barbara continue to test high for domoic acid. As a result, the California Department of Public Health has not yet determined that crab are safe to eat. Continue reading