History of White Abalone

A Snail’s Tale: Timeline

1950s

wa_olde
Pierce Brothers Abalone processing shop, CA. 1933. Copyright Pat Hathaway. Rogers-Bennett et al. 2002.

Abalone diving became wildly popular and advances in technology made abalone more accessible.

 

1970s

wa_graph
Karpov et al. 2000, "Serial depletion and the collapse of the California abalone (Haliotis spp.) fishery"
Dive Harvest
White abalone (Haliotis sorenseni) were once praised as the most tender and most expensive of the 7 species of California abalone. White abalone experienced a decade of intense overfishing.

 

1980s

Withering Syndrome arrives and causes large population declines in various species of abalone. See White Abalone Health Reproductive failure: Abalone require that a male and female be within a few meters of each other, but the majority of wild white abalone are now too far from one another. healthy/sickreproductive failure

 

 

 

 

 

 

1993

White abalone fishery closed
wa_restrictions

1997

The white abalone was proposed as a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

2000

White abalone restoration plans begin, wild adults collected for captive breeding

2001

Many agencies of the WARC teamed up to collect wild white abalone to be used for captive breeding. Success in captive breeding at Channel Islands Marine Resource Institute created more than 100,000 juvenile white abalone.

LRB

white ab juveniles
photo credit Channel Island Marine Resource Institute
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White abalone became the first marine invertebrate species to be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

2002

95% captive white abalone died from disease.

2004

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) deployed their first artificial reefs, known as "Baby Abalone Recruitment Traps". These BARTs act as settlement platforms for larval abalone, so when we take them apart to survey each year we can find juvenile abalone and identify periods of successful abalone reproduction.

 

deploybaby abalone recruitment traps

 

 

 

 

 

2005

CDFW released the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan

2008

NMFS published the White Abalone Recovery Plan, which listed captive propagation and wild population enhancement as a key step in the recovery strategy

2011

captive breedingCaptive breeding moved to UCD-BML where the program was able to benefit from shellfish health expert Dr. Jim Moore, reproduction and development specialist Dr. Gary Cherr, and ecology expert Dr. Laura Rogers-Bennett. Captive broodstock were kept at 5 separate facilities to take advantage of the diversity of expertise and public outreach opportunities, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory

 

2012

First captive reproductive success in nearly a decade occurred during a spawning at UCSB!

 

spermeggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

2013 to Current

spawning by year
Repeated success! Captive production increased dramatically each year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Future

The White Abalone Restoration Consortium is continuing to support the effort to re-establish a sustainable population of white abalone.