Facts Regarding Abalone Laws In California

  • Every abalone diver or rock-picker age 16 and older must have a fishing license.
  • Abalone report cards are required for all abalone fishermen regardless of age, even on Free Fishing Days.
  • Species: Only red abalone may be taken.
  • Daily bag/possession limit: 3
  • Annual bag limit: 18
  • Sonoma/Marin County Bag Limit: 9 (only 9 of the annual limit of 18 abalone may be taken south of Mendocino County)
  • Minimum Size Limit: 7 inches. Undersized abalone must be returned to the rock surface from which they were removed.
  • Area: Red abalone may only be taken north of San Francisco Bay, except Fort Ross in Sonoma County is closed year-round.
  • Time of Day: Abalone fishing starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends one half-hour after sunset.
  • Season: April 1–June 30; and Aug. 1–Nov. 30. Closed for July, December, January, February, and March.
  • Tools: Abalone irons must be smooth with no sharp edges, less than 36” long, and at least 3/4” wide and 1/16” thick.
  • Measuring devices: You must have a fixed-arm measuring gauge, capable of spanning an abalone’s shell. It is a violation to take an abalone when not in possession of a gauge, even if the abalone is legal sized.
  • Tagging Requirement: Each abalone report card includes 18 detachable tags, one for each abalone that may be taken toward a cardholder’s annual bag limit. Only 9 of the 18 tags are valid south of Mendocino County. The date, time and location of each abalone taken must be recorded on both the tag and card. Every abalone must be tagged immediately after exiting the water, except for divers coming aboard non-motorized vessels such as kayaks. Each tag must be securely fastened to the abalone’s shell by passing a “zip tie,” string, or other suitable material through a hole in the shell.
  • No Scuba: Abalone may not be taken on scuba or possessed aboard any boat, kayak or other floating device in which scuba gear is present.
  • No High Grading: It is illegal to remove a legal-sized abalone and then discard or replace it for a bigger one. All detached, legal abalone must be kept and included in your limit.
  • No Dry Sacking: You cannot take abalone for another person’s bag limit.

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If you have any further legal questions regarding Abalone Law in The North Bay of California, please do not hesitate to contact Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC today at:
 707-571-8600 OR 415-492-4507. 
We also defend people on all charges related to Abalone Law.

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