Magazine article Sunset

Abalone 101

Magazine article Sunset

Abalone 101

Article excerpt

WHAT IS ABALONE?

A single-shell mollusk found off the West Coast and legally caught only in Northern California and Southern Oregon.

HOW DO YOU CATCH IT?

Hold a single breath--no scuba tanks allowed--and dive down. Find and measure your abalone, and, if it's larger than the legal minimum size, use a spatula-like abalone iron to dislodge it from the rock.

ISN'T IT ENDANGERED?

Not red abalone, the only type legal to take. In the past it has been overfished, and even today different camps argue over whether recreational harvesting is harmful to red abalone populations. But California and Oregon allow highly regulated harvesting. Other abalone varieties--such as black, green, and white--are endangered or protected and off-limits to divers.

HOW IS IT REGULATED?

Divers must get special licenses. In Oregon, divers are allowed to catch i abalone of 8-inch diameter or larger per day, 5 per year. California allows 3 per day and 24 per year, with a 7-inch-diameter minimum size. …

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