I think I love abalone. Usually it’s sauteed in butter and wine and other times it’s being pleasantly surprised when I find one on a dive just hanging out between a rock and a hard case. Mainly I love them though because they are such a unique keystone species that’s integral to the grand ecosystem of marine life here in California. That being said, the complete destruction of abalone to the point of biological extinction here in the southern California bight does depress me. Whether it was pink, white, black, red, or green, this mollusk that once carpeted the local sub tidal zone and supported a huge multi-million dollar fishery is only a memory these days. It collapsed as it was fished to it’s sustainable edge because we we were confident we knew what we were doing. All the while as we fished our way through one abalone species after another, nobody counted on Mother Nature waiting in the wings with a particularly lethal strain called withering foot to provide the final nails in the coffin for the ab.
So basically they’re gone. Never to be seen again for the most part. It’s a hugely lamentable loss but I guess we have to accept it. Or do we?
In a recent Los Angeles Times article, South Gate Middle School was profiled for their efforts to raise green abalone in a classroom aquaculture environment. These efforts are are part of a larger program that challenges students to understand ocean sciences in ways that engage them personally. Developed by Nancy Caruso, a marine biologist and executive director of the nonprofit Get Inspired Inc, the program is operating in over a half -a-dozen schools in the southland and would like to expand to include a larger ocean abalone restoration project and they need your help, both personally and financially. So read the article below and also check out Get Inspired Inc and Nancy Caruso. It’s mission is something that all people who love the ocean can get behind.