Saturday, June 23 , 2018, 5:45 pm | Overcast 68º

 
 
 
 

Outdoors Q&A: Releasing Sea Creatures Back to the Wild

It's illegal to release any finfish or shellfish from captivity back into ocean waters

Q: Instead of taking life by the act of fishing or eating sea creatures, I want to save the lives of those creatures from seafood markets that are about to be killed for food by buying them and releasing them back to the ocean. Please let me know what kind of live sea creatures (crabs, oyster, shrimp, fish, etc.) are allowed to be legally released back to the ocean. I don’t want to do anything illegal, so please let me know of any restrictions I may need to know. (Justin)

A: Unfortunately, it is illegal to release any ocean finfish or shellfish from captivity back into ocean waters (Fish and Game Code, section 6400). Animals living in a fish tank or captive environment may have been exposed to foreign diseases and/or parasites and now carry them. To protect the natural ocean environments and prevent captive finfish and invertebrates from introducing these foreign diseases and/or parasites to healthy wild stocks, it is illegal to move or reintroduce them to the wild.

Shooting a Nuisance Bear?

Q: I have a buddy who lives near Lake Arrowhead. They have a bear that has been vandalizing their property (getting into trash cans), threatening animals and making them on edge at night or during the day. Would it be legal to shoot this nuisance animal? (Joey Cox, Tulare)

A: No, it is not legal to take this or any bear unless you are a holder of a valid bear tag during the open season or are a person operating under the conditions of a valid depredation permit issued by the California Department of Fish & Game.

Tell your buddy to contact DFG in Southern California at 909.484.0167 to report the damage being caused by the bear and to obtain information about the requirements for acquiring a depredation permit.

Where to Stick a Stamp?

Q: I just bought the new California computerized hunting license. Since it is issued by the state, a retail store sold me the federal waterfowl stamp separately. The federal stamp is not printed on the license. Where do I stick it on the license since there is no place designated, like the past licenses? Also, if a person buys the initial license with no stamps, then decides to duck hunt later, how do they add the printed stamp info? Do you have to pay for a new license over again? (Anonymous)

A: The law does not require the federal waterfowl stamp to be attached to the new license. You just need to have it in your possession while hunting (along with your license) so you can present it to a game warden upon request. You may want to just staple it to your hunting license to keep them together. The federal stamp still must be signed no matter where it is kept. If a person buys a license and later wants to get validations for bird hunting, he or she will be given an additional printout of the validations and must carry that along with the original license.

Big Game Hunting with an Air Gun?

Q: Is it legal to hunt and take big game in California with an air gun of any caliber? I am aware that small game (rabbits, squirrels, etc.) may be taken with any caliber air gun and turkeys may be taken with a .20-caliber or larger air gun. I read this question recently on a very widely viewed air gun forum. (Mike Clark)

A: Air rifles are unlawful for this purpose. Check California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 353 for the specific methods allowed for the taking of big game.

How Fast Do Abalone Grow?

Q: How fast do abalone grow?

A: Abalone are relatively slow growing. Tagging studies indicate Northern California red abalone take about 12 years to reach 7 inches, but growth rates are highly variable. Abalone grow nearly 1 inch per year for the first few years, and much slower after that. It takes about five years for red abalone to grow from 7 inches to 8 inches. At 8 inches, growth rates are so slow it takes about 13 years to grow another inch. Slow growth makes abalone populations vulnerable to overfishing since many years are needed to replace each abalone taken.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Game. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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