Abalone Diving is a popular pursuit on the Mendocino Coast and there are ocean access points all around Fort Bragg.
Blake Tallman of Sub-Surface Progression dive shop on Highway 1 in Fort Bragg offers this personal account of local ab diving:
“My dad opened the first Mendocino Coast dive shop more than 30 years ago, so I learned to dive at a very early age. I now run the shop, and after diving in other parts of the world, I’ve discovered our marine life is abundant and fun to experience. I enjoy hunting, spear fishing, taking underwater video, and simply enjoying the colorful life our ocean has to offer; diving here never fails to satisfy my quest for adventure.”
Abalone may only be taken by free-diving; that means no scuba gear, no tanks, just strong lungs. That means diving to between 5 and 40 feet where they are most commonly found.
Special Gear Required
Besides normal snorkeling equipment, you’ll need a pry-bar to pry the abalone off the rock, a gauge to make sure the shell meets the minimum 7-inch requirement, and an inner-tube to put your catch in.
Divers are limited to 3 abalone per day, 24 per year, and only in designated months. There are other rules, so before diving, check with the CA Department of Fish and Game to find out about licenses, seasons, and current regulations. Following the rules will not just help avoid an expensive fine, it will also allow the abalone to continue having a healthy population so future generations can share the tradition.
Where to Buy Locally
Subsurface Progression is a complete dive center with kayak rentals. Learn more.