Rare Juvenile White Abalone Spotted Off California Raises Hope for Endangered Shellfish
During a recent research cruise off the southern coast of California, NOAA Fisheries divers and partners found a juvenile white abalone. It’s one of only three live juveniles observed in natural subtidal reefs along the California coast during the past 20 years. They once numbered in the millions, but are now endangered.
“We need to improve reproductive output and maximize survival of white abalone by building populations that are resilient to climate change,” continues Neuman. “We know we can’t do this alone. A major component of conservation is to expand partnerships and inspire people to work with us.”
Many such efforts are underway. With support from NOAA Fisheries, for example, artist Beatie Wolfe and others have created an A-Z stamp sheet and poster to support abalone conservation in Cayucos, California. Each of the 26 letters of the alphabet corresponds to an image of wildlife native to California, beginning with abalone.
White abalone can live to up to 40 years and may reproduce successfully only four to five times over the course of their lives. They also have the broadest depth range of any abalone species in the world, occurring at depths of 15 to 200 feet.
NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to conserving and restoring white abalone. Our scientists use innovative techniques to study, protect, and restore their population. We also work with our partners to ensure that regulations and management plans are in place to reduce poaching and increase the wild abalone population.