California Sport Fishing Regulations

Last Modified 2015-May-27

Link to: California F&G Abalone Regs (the official version) Page 46 in the PDF.


(d) In all ocean waters skin and SCUBA divers may take invertebrates as provided in this article except that in all ocean waters north of Yankee Point (Monterey Co.), self-contained under water breathing apparatus (SCUBA) may only be used to take sea urchins, rock scallops and crabs of the genus Cancer. For the purpose of this section, breathing tubes are not underwater artificial breathing devices.


29.10. General.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this article, saltwater mollusks, including octopus, may be taken only on hook and line or with the hands.

(b) The size of a mollusk is measured in greatest shell diameter.

29.15. Abalone.

(a) Geographical Area

Abalone may only be taken north of a line drawn due west magnetic from the center of the mouth of San Francisco Bay. No abalone may be taken, landed, or possessed if landed south of this line.

(b) Open Season and Hours

Abalone may be taken only during the months of April, May, June, August, September, October and November from 8 AM (0800) to one-half hour after sunset.

(c) Bag Limit and Yearly Trip Limit

  • Three red abalone, Haliotis rufescens, may be taken per day.
  • No more than three abalone may be possessed at any time.
  • No other species of abalone may be taken or possessed.
  • Each person taking abalone shall stop detaching abalone when the limit of three is reached.
  • No person shall take more than 18 abalone during a calendar year. See subsection 29.15(h). (only 9 of those can come from south of Mendocino county line)
  • Fishing Licence and Abalone Report card are required
  • You must zip tie a tag to each abalone you take though a siphon hole and the tag's hole (Immediately upon exiting the water or boarding a vessel, which ever occurs first)

(d) Minimum Abalone Size

  • All red abalone must be seven inches or greater measured along the longest shell diameter.
  • All legal size abalone detached must be retained.
  • No undersized abalone may be brought ashore or aboard any boat, placed in any type of receiver, kept on the person, or retained in any person's possession or under his control.
  • Undersize abalone must be replaced immediately to the same surface of the rock from which detached. (see Replacing a Short)
  • Abalones brought ashore shall be in such a condition that the size can be determined.

(e) Special Gear Provisions

  • The use of SCUBA gear or surface supplied air to take abalone is prohibited.
  • Abalone may not be taken or possessed aboard any boat, vessel, or floating device in the water containing SCUBA or surface supplied air.
  • Abalone may be taken only by hand or by devices commonly known as abalone irons.
  • Abalone irons must be less than 36 inches long, straight or with a curve having a radius of not less than 18 inches, and must not be less than 3/4 inch wide nor less than 1/16 inch thick.
  • All edges must be rounded and free of sharp edges.
  • Knives, screwdrivers and sharp instruments are prohibited.

(f) Measuring Device

Every person while taking abalone shall carry a fixed caliper measuring gauge capable of accurately measuring the abalone being taken. The measuring device shall have fixed opposing arms of sufficient length to measure the abalone by placing the gauge over the shell.

(g) Abalone Possession and Transportation

Abalones must not be removed from their shell, except when being prepared for immediate consumption.

(h) Abalone Report Card

  • All persons required to have an abalone stamp must also have a current and nontransferable Abalone Report Card (FG-2915 (New 12/99)) which is incorporated by reference herein, issued by the department, while taking abalone.
  • Persons diving from a boat or shore may have their report card on the boat or within 500 yards on the shore, respectively.
  • Persons must, immediately upon taking and/or bringing ashore an abalone, make a hole in the report card in one of the designated locations and record with indelible ink, the date, time, and location in the spaces provided adjacent to the punch.

An Abalone Report Card shall be valid for the calendar year. No person may be issued or possess more than one Abalone Report Card or any abalone report card other than their own. No person shall take more than 24 abalone in a calendar year. The Abalone Report Card must be returned to the

Calif. Department of Fish and Wildlife
32330 N. Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554

within 30 days of the close of abalone season.

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Last Modified 2015-May-27