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(14 objects, created 1/27/2010)
The abalone component of the California Current ecosystem includes species that share the following characteristics: they are relatively long-lived (at least 20 years), are broadcast spawners, are prey to a variety of species, and are susceptible to disease. Seven species occur on the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California, including the endangered white abalone (Haliotis sorenseni), red abalone (H. rubescens), pink abalone (H. corrugata), also known as yellow abalone in Mexico, green abalone (H. fulgens) also known as blue abalone in Mexico, the endangered black abalone (H. cracherodi), pinto or northern (H. kamtschatkana kamtschatkana, northern population) or threaded (H. k. assimilis, southern population) abalone and flat abalone (H. walallensis).
Abalone have separate sexes and reproduce by broadcast spawning. Fertilization success decreases as the density of eggs and sperm decreases. Because males and females must be within a few meters of each other for successful reproduction, abalone populations exhibit depensatory growth at low densities. Abalone fishing is done by divers who focus on concentrations of abalone to minimize bottom time. Breeding aggregations of abalone are serially depleted until the fishery collapses. Thus the very nature of the fishery leads to instability. Failure to recognize this fact has lead to recruitment overfishing. Marine protected areas, which maintain high densities of abalone may be an effective management strategy.
Saving and recovering endangered species is a critical task of our stewardship. White abalone, Haliotis sorenseni, became listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 2001. Since then, the SWFSC has monitored white abalone populations in both U.S. and Mexican waters. We have also played a key role in formulating the recovery plan for white abalone and the status review team for the endangered black abalone, Haliotis cracherodii. For more information, please visit the Benthic Resources Program page.
Pink abalone spat