Saving the endangered white abalone

A look at efforts to restore the population of the endangered white abalone.

Kristin Aquilino, a marine scientist at Bodega Marine Laboratory, is leading the way in the effort to restore the population of the endangered white abalone.

Due to overfishing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared white abalone endangered in 2001. Black abalone were second to be declared endangered in 2003.

white abalone
White abalone. (Kim Kenny/Peninsula Press)

The seven species of abalone that live in the waters off the California coast are white, black, green, red, pink, pinto and flat abalone. Green abalone, along with pink and pinto, are part of NOAA’s Species of Concern Program, which “supports proactive conservation and research,” according to NOAA’s website.

Scientists believe white abalone have difficulty sustaining their numbers in the wild because the few that are left are too far from each other to successfully reproduce. So Aquilino’s team is breeding them in captivity, with the hope that the white abalone from the lab will be able to repopulate those in the wild.

Learn more in the audio podcast report above.

(SoundCloud background image courtesy of John Butler/NOAA)

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