A recent up date from Joshua Russo
On the new abalone FMP 1/28/18
The department agreed at the last RAAC meeting to use the RAAC as a means of communicating the progress with the FMP and soliciting input from the public. We were supposed to have a meeting a month for at least the first six months of 2018 but as of yet, no additional meetings have been scheduled and no dates are being proposed.
Basically, we have until June to come up with a proposal that would reopen the fishery if we want a shot of reopening in 2019. The TNC has submitted a set of Harvest control rules that were posted on another thread but they are being revised slightly to include a cut off point.
I've asked the department and the TNC to include a minimal fishery in their harvest control rules. Since neither management plan is expected to be able to monitor the entire coast accurately, and both plans would eventually close the fishery if their index sites and data streams were not as healthy as they want. What this would do is add a provision that if all the index sites were low and all the management efforts had been utilized to no avail we would allow minimal take to keep the fishery open so long as the take would not be able to impact the species or the recovery. At this point our level of take would probably resemble what Oregon has been doing in past years and include a limit on the number of cards sold but the fishery would stay open. I'm calling it the bomb shelter provision.
The Challenge comes from within. I've spoken with many divers that understand that there is a problem out there and want some management effort to reverse it. The fact is that no management effort can keep up with the changes we've seen in the last few years and that no management effort can bring the fishery back to what it was. Even if there was zero fishing pressure and poaching was somehow stopped completely it would take decades of perfect conditions to get close to what we had 5 years ago. We need to convince divers that the ocean gets to dictate how dense our fishery will be and our job is just to create harvest control rules that don't magnify the problem. As long as we are above natural populations there's no reason why we shouldn't have a fishery. Fishing pressure is not the problem.