During the 2000´s abalone populations and commercial catches of Haliotis fulgens and H. corrugata in Mexico were steadily increasing until 2008; however, severe mortalities have been detected in recent years, associated to hypoxic conditions that also affected other benthic invertebrates such as sea urchins.
Since 2007 unusual abalone mortalities, that did not still impact production, had been reported by some divers; but in 2009 several abalone populations in the central part of the Baja California peninsula suffered losses that, according to the Federation of Fishing Cooperatives, had an impact on commercial catches. Lower mortalities were also detected in 2010. read more >>>
Despite recent difficult times in the Chilean aquaculture industry such as the production problems in salmon due to diseases and market problems for mussel and scallop producers, abalone farmers have reported good news over the past year.
The abalone industry was able to grow and diversify their markets and products in a global crisis scenario. Switching from almost entirely frozen product exports to Japan to the current approach consisting of 50% canned product, 49% frozen and 1% live (by weight) to a variety of countries, mainly in Asia. read more >>>
California game wardens are waging an abalone anti-poaching effort with the aid of prosecutors from Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Poaching, in combination with a significant increase of lawful abalone harvest in both counties, is placing more pressure on the resource than ever.
“Despite our cooperative efforts, the abalone resource is struggling,” said Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Law Enforcement Chief Nancy Foley. “Abalone are being harvested from the two counties -- via both legal and illegal means -- at an unsustainable rate.”
It is never legal to harvest abalone with a sport fishing license and then sell it. Commercial harvest of wild abalone has been banned since 1997. However, abalone fetch $100 each or more on the black market. For many poachers, the black market value outweighs the risks of poaching for profit. read more >>>
(Image Source: KQED QUEST - Some rights reserved.)
During May 17 and 18, 2010, a workshop was held at the University of Baja California in Ensenada, to analyze the current efforts on restocking abalone populations in the peninsula of Baja California. The workshop, organized by Dr. Ricardo Searcy-Bernal, was attended by members of fishermen cooperatives, private companies, universities and government agencies.
Currently six fishermen hatcheries release abalone larvae and seeds of Haliotis fulgens and H. corrugata in the central part of the peninsula, and there are three private projects to restock depleted areas of H. rufescens in the North.
During the last three years, more than 250 millions of competent larvae and 790 thousand seeds (ca. >15 mm) have been released, but the impact of these operations on the abalone fishery is uncertain. Preliminary estimates suggest that at least 3 metric tons (meat weight) of abalones reach the commercial size each year as a result of these efforts.
Efective methods to evaluate the impact of stock enhancement, using both abalone larvae and seeds, need to be developed and international input on this issue is welcome.