A working group of researchers, tribes, and residents discuss abalone sustainability in Southeast

Abalone collected on July 15 near Betton Island, at a -4.2 tide. (Photo courtesy of Shelia Spores).

Abalone is technically a marine snail. It comes in a mottled pink-and-green shell, with wispy tentacles around the broad muscle that acts as a foot, keeping it anchored to rocks.

But a past record of overharvesting has officials worried about the stunted population and reduced genetic diversity. Ocean acidification also impacts the coastal waters that the abalone call home. NOAA reports that illegal poaching of abalone is still occurring, despite the regulations in place.

Pinto abalone, the species found in Southeast, is considered endangered in Washington state and British Columbia. There have been some studies done in Alaska in recent years, like a dive study in Sitka Sound, but there hasn’t been a formal long-term study that shows what Alaska’s population of pinto abalone really looks like.

Now, scientists are looking for ways to bring back a lively supply of abalone in Southeast. 

Raegan Miller, KRBD, 1 August 2022. Full article.

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