|A living abalone|
Description[change | change source]
Abalones live all over the world. They can be seen along the waters of every continent, except the Atlantic coast of South America, the Caribbean, and the East Coast of the United States. Most abalones are found in cold waters, along the coasts of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, and Western North America and Japan in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Chilean Pacific coast, the species called loco (Concholepas Concholepas, Bruguière, 1789) has a hard, black shell, and is eaten by many people.
Abalone have unique features: the shell is round, with two to three spirals. The last spiral is grown into a large "ear"-like shape, which explains the name 'ear-shell'. The inside of the shell is shiny, from silvery white to green-red mother-of-pearl.
Abalones can start to give birth at a small size. Their fertility is high and increases with size (from 10,000 to 11 million eggs at a time).
Abalone shell[change | change source]
The shell of the abalone is known for being very strong. It is made of very tiny calcium carbonate tiles stacked like bricks. Between the layers of tiles is a sticky protein substance. Allergic skin reactions and asthma attacks can happen when breathing the dust made when these tiles are broken down.
California[change | change source]
Sport harvesting of Red Abalone is allowed with a California fishing license and an abalone stamp card. Abalone may only be taken using breath-hold techniques: freediving or shorepicking. SCUBA diving for abalone is strictly not allowed. Abalone harvesting is not allowed south of the mouth of the San Francisco Bay. There is a size minimum of seven inches measured across the shell and a limit of three per day and 24 per year that can be taken. Abalone may only be taken in April, May, June, August, September, October and November, but they may not be taken in July, December, January, February or March. Transportation of abalone is only legal while the abalone is still attached to the shell. Sale of sport-caught abalone is illegal, including the shell. Only Red Abalone may be taken; black, white, pink, and flat abalone are protected by law.
An abalone diver normally uses a very thick wetsuit, including a hood, booties, and gloves. He or she would also wear a mask, snorkel, weight belt, abalone iron, and abalone gauge. It is common to take abalone in water a few inches up to 10 m/28' deep. Freedivers who can work deeper than 10 m/28' are less common. Abalone are normally found on rocks near food sources (kelp). An abalone iron is used to pry the abalone from the rock before it can fully clamp down. Visibility is normally five to ten feet. Divers commonly dive out of boats, kayaks, tube floats or directly off the shore. An eight-inch abalone is considered a good catch, a nine-inch would be very good, and a ten-inch plus (250 mm) abalone would be an excellent catch. Rock- or shore-picking is a different method from diving where the rock picker feels below rocks during low tides for abalone.
There has been a trade in diving to catch abalones off parts of the United States coast from before 1939. In World War II, many of these abalone divers were recruited into the United States armed forces and trained as frogmen.
Farming[change | change source]
- See also: Aquaculture
Notes[change | change source]
- "Abalone Farming on a Boat". http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2002/01/49847. Retrieved 2007-01-27.
- "The Abalone Farm". http://www.abalonefarm.com/. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
Other websites[change | change source]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Haliotidae|
|Wikispecies has information on: Haliotis.|