In Other Ocean News:
California Outdoors Q & A:
Abalone Dinner Charity Fundraiser?
Question: What is the regulation regarding charity fundraisers and abalone dinners? We are being asked to offer an abalone dinner for six people at a fundraiser and the highest bidder wins.
Although different than actually charging a set price for an abalone dinner, is it illegal to accept a "donation" from the highest bidder? (Scott E., Walnut Creek)
Answer: You can sell a dinner to the highest bidder, but it can't be sold as an abalone dinner. You cannot advertise or sell a dinner to someone or through an auction that gives the buyer or
bidder an expectation they will receive abalone for the money they spend. Even if the money is a donation to charity or to a non-profit organization, promising abalone (in any form) for money
is not legal. Sport-caught abalone (or other fish and game) cannot be bought, sold, traded or bartered. You cannot commercialize sport-caught abalone in any way. If you were to buy abalone
from a commercial abalone farm, then you could advertise and promote it as an "abalone dinner."
The only way to legally do what you are proposing is to make the entire dinner "a donation". As long as everyone going through the meal line is not "required to pay" there is no prohibition
from calling it an abalone dinner.
iPhone Fishing License?
Question: I understand that some fishermen are taking pictures of their fishing licenses with their mobile phone. If a person forgot to bring his or her license, would a picture be acceptable
proof of a license?
Answer: No. California law does not recognize an electronic copy or a picture of a sport fishing license. You are required to have your actual sport fishing license in possession while fishing
(California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 700 and Fish and Game Code, sections 1054.2 and 7145(a)) and to present your actual license upon request to any wildlife officier who asks
(FGC, Section 2012). Fishing and hunting licenses are printed on special waterproof paper to prevent fraudulent duplication. A scanned or digital version of your license on your phone could
be easily altered from its original image.
While every angler must have a valid sport fishing license in possession while fishing in California, the law does allow a person diving from a boat to keep the license on the boat, and a person
diving from shore may keep the license on shore within 500 yards.
Why No Abalone Diving or Rock Picking Before 8:00 A.M.?
Question: Why are abalone divers and pickers now required to wait until 8:00 a.m. to begin? Can divers still go spear fishing at the normal legal start time or take early morning photos, then
switch over to abalone diving at 8 a.m.? (Anonymous)
Answer: The new 8:00 a.m. start time is an abalone conservation measure. It reduces the number of low-tide days people will be able to take abalone by rock picking (searching amongst rocks
for abalone at low tide). During the spring, many low tides occur much earlier than 8:00 a.m.
This regulation change originated from the concerns of wardens who were witnessing large numbers of fishermen coming each and every low tide and taking large numbers of abalone. People
were removing numerous undersized abalone while trying to find legal ones. Because undersized abalone often do not survive being removed and returned, they are likely to die. Thus, the
impact on the fishery when this happens is probably much greater than the estimated legal catch (over 200,000 abalone annually in recent years).
Some people were also using the dim light before dawn to hide illegal activities. Wardens believe a later start time will ease their biggest concerns, and the Fish and Game Commission decided to choose that option.
Divers wanting to go out before 8 a.m. to spearfish or do underwater photography can do this as long as they don't have the means of taking abalone or are searching for abalone before the
official state time. If their activities appear to a warden to be taking or searching for abalone before 8 a.m., then they can be cited