We got up in time to be on the coast at low tide just after 8 am. There are only a few days this summer when unusually low tide coincides with the 8 am start time for abalone fishing. In fact, the start time was moved to 8 am from an earlier hour to decrease the number of days, such as these, when it is possible to collect abalone without diving.

abalone hunter

Abalone fishing.

6.20.15 rainbow

Rainbow over abalone fishing.

That’s probably no longer possible. The abalone population has decreased so rapidly in recent years that the annual catch per person is now three abalone per day and 18 abalone per year per individual. It turns out THAT IS STILL TOO MANY. Today is a Saturday and an usually low tide just after 8 am, and that may have increased the number of people fishing, but you do the math: in a stretch of coast less than a mile long there were 15 people, in groups of 2-5 persons, fishing for abalone {that we saw). There could have been more. Each of the people we spoke to had their full quota of 3 abalone. That means 45 adult abalone are collected per mile, per day, as often as seven days a week. How long will there we abalone to harvest? Not very long by my calculation. The state of California has been monitoring the population of abalone and decreasing catch limits each year. What happens when a moratorium has to be put in place? Are there enough people to monitor this and prevent poaching? I doubt it. What should be done?

Abalone fishing.

One of the many places where people hunt abalone.