Sunday, September 21, 2008

Abalone are vicious.

There are still some of the roughest months to go in the year, and there have already been six abalone divers killed in California. Last year apparently the number was Seven. As someone who has spent a great deal of time free diving in Northern California this is almost enough to make me take up SCUBA full time. It might sound more complicated, but you have time. With free diving one little mistake, that would take you just three minutes to get out of, and that is it for you. SCUBA is far more safe because you have some time to handle any issue that should come up. Some of the people who have been killed were quite experienced too, here is a list that includes up to 2007.

I guess the only good thing to know is that divers who have spent as much time in the water as I have rarely get in trouble unless the conditions are really bad, or a Great White Shark comes around. I have not exactly been conservative about when to enter the water however, perhaps I should be.

On the plus side, it really looks like a great time to be a spearfisherman in California. Albacore are at or near record numbers, Lingcod have increased dramatically in population in the past five years, while most rockfish have yet to rebound, one of the most common varieties the Black Rockfish has staged a comeback, Halibut have not returned to their levels a hundred years ago but are doing far better than they were in the 70s, White sea bass are also present in far greater numbers than the 60s-80s. The last time I was in the water in CA, all rockfish populations were at record lows, and ling cod were in really bad shape. With the new marine reserves the situation is only going to be improving. So, I think its about time to escape upstate NY.

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