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Abs on a come back?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Cingene

Will Dive for Food
Mar 4, 2003
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Went to Stillwater cove in the Sonoma Coast of California this Saturday and was happy to see a lot of almost legal abs in the cracks and out. This was inside the cove, outside where it is not fished out I got my limit in about 30 minutes, so did several other people. :p I hope this is a sign of the red abalones (and others) once again increasing in numbers along the Northern California Coast (forget the South) :t
 

fuzz

Hawaiian transplant...
Sep 9, 2002
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I believe that the numbers issue is primarily a concern of the slow growth rate coupled with the general lack of smaller ones.

There are abs everywhere & in some spots can see a couple dozen on a dive; however, the smaller ones are rare & almost non-existent.
 

Cingene

Will Dive for Food
Mar 4, 2003
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Hey Fuzz,

How was that tourney? What is considered small for abalones? I've seen ones that are 5 inches, 6 inches, i think a 3 incher, but you're right not too many of the 3's. What is the growth rate for abs? Has anyone done research on Abalone reproduction? Maybe the rate of growth also? Do you know of a site online about west coast abalone research?
 
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icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
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While there have been a few studies both from the Fed's and from various members of the entrepenurial and academic worlds, the greatest amount of legitimate information about the growth rates and numbers/locales of abalone, much of the money spent never got past the "administrative" levels and indeed one of the members of an advisory committee was himself popped for poaching- a fox in the henhouse so to speak.

Depending on who you talk to and if you believe them, abalone are either recovering, stable or decreasing in numbers sure to cause the Earth to wobble on it's axis. Pick a side and guess with the best.

That said, I was a very lonely advocate of decreasing the limit to 4-3 and even having a moratorium as early as 10 years ago. In the early seventies to last weekend, the most accessible coves were getting pressure in the easier spots and we were kicking further out and around for the bigger specimens. Same as today. But recently, and I'm talking in the last year and a half, the number of juveniles I've seen out in the open has increased and the number of big slugs is down. What that shows, at least to me is that the recruitement is gaining ground- that they are not so much comning back as they are healthy and stable. Sure it's going to be a while before those 2-3 inch guys reach ten inchs, but I can wait. Trouble is that the pressure for them isn't going away as slowly as they grow.

But there too, the numbers of divers from aways away, like Sac, S.J. and thereabouts, are getting fewer, figuring that the drive to and back for a lousy three abs isn't worth it. Fine by me.

I support the reduction of the bag limit and I also feel that it's showing benefits already. Now if the funds from the abalone portion of the license actually went to abalone research and enforcement rather than pot hole repair or some politician's lunch tab on an out of state junket, we'd be smooth.
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
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Originally posted by Cingene
Hey Fuzz,
What is considered small for abalones? I've seen ones that are 5 inches, 6 inches, i think a 3 incher, but you're right not too many of the 3's. What is the growth rate for abs? Has anyone done research on Abalone reproduction? Maybe the rate of growth also? Do you know of a site online about west coast abalone research?

Cingene, I don't know who is doing west coast abalone research, but I did find a site I think puts some facts into perspective. These facts raise further questions....
check www.abalone.net/guide.htm
[from the California Department of Fish and Game]
This is one excerpt, from the life cycle chapter:
"The sexes are separate and can be distinguished in individuals as small as one inch when the gonads begin to develop.
The eggs or sperm are released through the pores with the respiratory current. This is known as broadcast spawning.
A 1.5 inch abalone may spawn 10,000 eggs or more at a time, while an 8 inch abalone may spawn 11 million or more.
Spawning may be controlled by the water temperature or length of the day. The presence of eggs and sperm in the water may stimulate other abalone to spawn, thus increasing the chances of fertilization.
The egg hatches as a microscopic, free living larva. It drifts with the currents for about a week, then the abalone larva settles to the bottom, sheds its swimming "hairs" (cilia) and begins to develop the adult shell form.
If suitable habitat is located it may grow to adulthood.
The chance that an individual larva will survive to adulthood is very low. Fortunately abalone and most mollusks are prolific spawners but the mortality still probably exceeds 99%.
Tagging studies have provided estimates of age for larger abalone in the wild. Red abalone are mature at 1.5 to 2 inches when growth begins to slow with age. For instance, a seven inch red abalone may be 7-10 years old, while one only 3/4 of an inch longer may be 15 years or older. "

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure what happens if the most prolific spawners are taken out of circulation. The larger abalone release more gametes. Remove them.....and the numbers can't keep up.

Thank you for posting a most thought-provoking question.
 

icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
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galloping gametes!

Originally posted by OceanSwimmer
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure what happens if the most prolific spawners are taken out of circulation.


...that explains why they never held a parade for me following my "procedure". :hmm
 

Cingene

Will Dive for Food
Mar 4, 2003
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Maybe they should let us get the juveniles then:p instead of the adults? Maybe that will solve alot of the reproduction problems.

...that explains why they never held a parade for me following my "procedure".

Sex change Sven? :D
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
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Fellas, you're gonna hate me for saying this, but what about a complete moratorium on ab-hunting for 10 years?
---Ever read how ab-hunting is done in Australia?
The sites for ab-hunting are open for just a few hours, on specifically designated Sundays, in defined areas. Could be they check the 'grounds' and determine the impact before reopening again for another 'hunt'. Kinda makes sense.
I'll see if I can find my source for that info.
There's more to it than what I've mentioned here.
Here it is:
www.fish.wa.gov.au/rec/broc/abalone/

The hours for fishing abalone are between 7and 8:30am on selected Sundays in November and December. The size limit is 60mm. Hmmm....there's lots more. Check the site.
 
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Shadowkiller

Digital Hunter
Jul 30, 2002
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The WA guys do it different to the setup we have here on the east coast of Australia.

NSW has a size limit of 11.5cm on abalone, daily limit of 10.
You can dive for them all year 'round.

Recent fungal outbreaks which destroyed 95% of the population mean a total closure of a large part of coastline for the next 5 years. But even after 1 year I am seing more Abs than ever before.

Interesting factoid: The illegal catch, ie poaching for black market sale and export to other countries is estimated at 40% of the legal catch. The legal catch limit is set at 150 tonnes.

So the main problem (apart from disease) our abalone have is poaching. I'd guess it would be fairly similar in the US.
 

Cingene

Will Dive for Food
Mar 4, 2003
400
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I hate you already OceanSwimmer:martial . This is the first time I've ever done abalones and you are telling me to stop. Without even trying to find out what really is causing the decline? :vangry
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
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Cingene,
I hope you are kidding!
Personally, I want to go ab-diving too.
Last month I had the opportunity to look at some old photos of the original Bluewater Hunters in action here in San Diego. Imagine seeing a paddleboard piled high with abalone taken 4 miles from here...20 or easily 30 at a time.
As you probably well know, abalone are not taken here now, and sighting one outside the La Jolla Underwater Preserve is something I've yet to see.
--Does this mean I'm willing to personally limit my catch to maybe three or four in a year, so my grandchildren can enjoy abalone? Sure!
A once-a-year-hunt and ab-party with friends might be plenty for me :)
Especially if it means we will see abalone proliferate once again.

I am sorry if my post offended you.
It was not my intent to do so, nor to judge anyone in any way for legally taking abalone.
Like I said, I'd love to hunt for abs too, but not at the cost of depriving my great grandchildren, or the rest of the food chain.
Consider this:
Young ab having a mortality rate of 99% in spite of millions of spawn.
The lack of young abs here in SoCal has probably affected the food-chain in ways we have yet to appreciate.
Species that formerly consumed young abs (less than 1-inch) are affected as well.
Since abs spawn 'opportunistically' -- in response to sensing the spawn of other abs in the water, perhaps less gametes are reaching other abs and encouraging the same reaction.
 

icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
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hey now.

ease up, Cingene. The lady is just putting the info out there as you originally requested. Having dove abs in Oz, I for one appreciate the latest takes on the snails and yes, the parasitic/fungal/who knows what that wiped out the So Cal ab population, second to the sport take, is a factor here but seems to be in check.

A ten year ban might be a bit much but a couple couldn't hurt. Much. :waterwork
 

Cingene

Will Dive for Food
Mar 4, 2003
400
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HA! Just following up on what she said about guys starting to hate her...haha... Not serious here. OceanSwimmer is a lady???? Did not know that. Ahem...Hi Ocean. Seriously, I am just wondering what really is contributing or contributed to the decline of the abalones. I think as our Aussie had said poachers, and as Sven has said even the regulator has been caught poaching. Now why blame us who pay to go abalone diving. I don't know how to solve this problem but I think they should have stiffer penalties to those who choose to break the law. We don't want to close off all abalone diving in Northern California without even having a study of the decline causes etc. And again as Sven has said, If the money was really spent on the studies rather than regulators diverting the money into something else.

Sorry about the comment about hating you OceanSwimmer. I was just trying to roll with your statement and there is no hating bone in this California boy. :waterwork Can we just all get along???
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
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No worries...

Apology accepted, Cingene ;)
Like I said, I want to go ab-diving too :p
Sven, thank you for understanding.
I realize it is patently unfair to recommend restricting taking abalone outside my turf.
As a very experienced (and long time) local of the ab-grounds you have a far better perspective about the conditions: how they were in the 60s and since.. For me to toss out a quick 'hey, how about a 10-year ban?'--- is pretentious and inappropriate. :eek:
---What got me thinking about the continuum was this:
"But recently, and I'm talking in the last year and a half, the number of juveniles I've seen out in the open has increased and the number of big slugs is down. What that shows, at least to me is that the recruitement is gaining ground- that they are not so much comning back as they are healthy and stable. Sure it's going to be a while before those 2-3 inch guys reach ten inches, but I can wait.Trouble is the pressure for them isn't going away as slowly as they grow"---icarus pacific

---It occured to me I'd read somewhere how long it takes for an ab to reach 'legal' size: possibly 15 years...then throw in the 'big abs=big spawn' factoid...and well--- :hmm

As I've seen in other discussions on this forum the concerns about limits of different species, reproductive age, and appropriate hunting are all information I want to understand very well before laying a hand on a speargun.
I have been consistently impressed with the spearos on this board who possess a wealth of knowledge about their prey and hunt ethically.
Lucky for me, this allows plenty of time for study......and (much-needed) freediving practice.

Shadowkiller: Thanks for the information about the differing rules between NSW and WA.
---Year-round season, eh?
What are the conditions where you hunt for abs?
.......anyone else getting hungry? :p
 

Shadowkiller

Digital Hunter
Jul 30, 2002
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Re: No worries...

Originally posted by OceanSwimmer
Sure it's going to be a while before those 2-3 inch guys reach ten inches, but I can wait.

:mute

But anyways, the abs here get to (maybe) 6-7inches max.
And no Ab hunting for me as I live in the exclusion zone and can't get a feed of abalone for the next 4 years at least. But I already have my eye on certain spots where the abs are thick and already over legal size.

Also: In NSW we have a maximum size for lobster. Thats is, any lobster that measurers over 20cm on its carapace has to be put back. We also have a minimum size but the upper limit is there to ensure that the big breeders are not removed from the ecosystem. Maybe a similar upper size limit could be applied to the NC abs?
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
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Re: Re: No worries...

Originally posted by Shadowkiller
:mute .....they get to (maybe) 6-7inches max.
..... But I already have my eye on certain spots where they are thick and already over legal size.

Also: In NSW we have a maximum size.
Thats is, any that measures over 20cm has to be put back.
We also have a minimum size but the upper limit is there to ensure that the big breeders are not removed from the ecosystem.
Maybe a similar upper size limit could be applied in NC?

rofl

....taste of yer own medicine, Shadow!
 

OceanSwimmer

Well-Known Member
Nov 3, 2002
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Innocent post caught in the crossfire...

----Heh! it wasn't my quote, Shadow!
Originally posted by icarus pacific
Sure it's going to be a while before those 2-3 inch guys reach ten inches, but I can wait.
Originally posted by Shadowkiller if only I was little older...

rofl ....and another topic degenerates into a free-for-all! rofl
 

defofthecrown

Morone saxatilis
Mar 8, 2003
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what happened to the abs south of San Fran? Was there a parasite that knocked them out or what. Sven mentioned something but if anyone had more info...

Like where the divide is to see them, and what species it effects. Were there ever red abs down south or just black, pinto, pink, err what ever other ~14 spp.

The one weeked I went diving up North we saw tons of 7-9 inchers, but no small abs. We kinda hypothesized that they lived in cracks and generally out of sight to avoid predation and the larger ones did not because a: they were too big to hide out of sight and/or b: the didn't need to b/c they were too big to be efficentley preyed upon (handling time for any behavioural ecologists).

It would be nice to have some facts so I don't need to keep making up theories ;)
 

Cingene

Will Dive for Food
Mar 4, 2003
400
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Old ab divers (like Sven:D ) ate them all:p . Just kidding Sven! From what I gather, the demise came from over harvesting of commercial ab fisherman and lately poachers (same people as the commercial ab fishermen, probably the ones related to the gill net commercial fishermen who contributed to the diminishing number of rockfish up Northern California:hmm ) But who knows for sure. The lawyers who are representing these fools seems to be the only ones winning. :martial > So let's have a brainstorming session (or in this case..forum) and see what we come up with I say.
 
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