Concerning your Nov. 1 article on abalone ["Tasty Sea Snail May Be Near Extinction,'' news story]:

First, fishermen who harvest abalone do so under regulations designed by the state of California. Where is the recognition that fishermen don't design regulations, government does?

Second, the range of the white abalone is from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County on the north to Bahia Tortugas, Mexico, and from 80 feet to 300 feet of water. If white abalone have been depleted by human divers, what happened to those deeper than 120 feet--the limit of compressed-air diving? If the deep-water stocks are also gone, then something besides human harvest has taken place.

Finally, the same federal agency, the National Park Service, that supplied data used to close the fishery also supports reintroduction of sea otters. Sea otters have a documented negative effect on abalone and other shellfish fisheries. Because a sister agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, has ignored a congressional mandate to protect southern California fisheries from sea otters, the otters now overlap the range of the supposedly endangered abalone. This also has caused significant economic loss to the regional fisheries.

--Steve Rebuck

The writer is technical consultant for abalone

for the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Team

in San Luis Obispo, Calif.