Project Description

I was happy and hopeful seeing this northern abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana), near Campbell River, out in the open during a boat dive.  This is only the second one I’ve seen after many dives …

Abalone populations worldwide have been in trouble due to over-harvesting and degradation of habitat.  Even though there is a fishing ban on the only species of abalone in the Pacific Northwest, the northern abalone, their population continues to decline.  This may be due to the fact that abalone are broadcast spawners, which means that the males and females release their sperm and eggs into the water for fertilization.  The problem is that when the density of spawning adults is too low there is less of a chance of fertilization taking place, so reproduction may not be successful.  Efforts are underway to attempt captive breeding programs with the goal of increasing wild populations in the Pacific Northwest.  The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has listed the northern abalone as “Endangered”.  The northern abalone can grow to seven inches (18 cm) across, with a range including Japan, Siberia, and southern Alaska to northern Mexico.