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CALIFORNIA'S BLACK ABALONE FISHERY CLOSED BY STATE

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The State Office of Administrative Law has formally approved an earlier motion by the California Fish and Game Commission to close the black abalone fishery in ocean waters. The closure expires at the end of February 1995.
 The closure became effective Aug. 2, the date it was filed with the Secretary of State's office. Although there is usually a 30-day grace period with the office before such filings become effective, such a stay would have subjected California's declining stock of black abalone to recreational harvest during that time. The immediate closure assures protection for black abalone from both commercial and recreational harvest.
 The closure follows a vote in June by the State Fish and Game Commission to protect black abalone from harvest by closing fishing seasons for the species. Meeting publicly in Bridgeport, the commission unanimously voted to end the 1993 season, citing depleted black abalone stock in Southern California marine waters, where the species is predominantly found.
 State marine officials with the Department of Fish and Game blame declining number of black abalone on a condition known as "withering syndrome." The lethal affliction is thought responsible for the disappearance of black abalone populations from several California offshore islands. "Withering syndrome" causes the tissues of black abalone to atrophy. Afflicted abalone are described as weak, lethargic, emaciated and discolored. The condition is frequently fatal.
 Since 1986, dead and dying black abalone on Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands have been observed afflicted with "withering syndrome." A 1988 outbreak of the condition was responsible for an 85 percent decline in black abalone populations at Diablo Cove, San Luis Obispo County and a 60 percent drop in San Clemente Island abalone numbers in 1991.
 In 1992, commercial operations harvested $173,000 worth of black abalone in Southern California. The 1992 black abalone commercial landing of 35,000 pounds reflects a steady decline in the fishery from a 1973 peak of 2 million landed pounds.
 -0- 8/3/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Capps or Lanny Clavecilla of the Conservation Education Office, of the California Department of Fish and Game, 916-653-6420/


CO: California Department of Fish and Game ST: California IN: SU:

TB-LH -- SF020 -- 9134 08/03/93 19:20 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 3, 1993
Words:370
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