Photo by Jack Likins
|Red Abalone (Haliotis rufescens) are marine mollusks having a soft body surrounded by a mantle, an anterior head, and a large, muscular foot. The brick red shells (color often masked by encrusted organisms) are rounded or oval with a large dome towards one end and can range in size from approximately 7 to 12 inches. Red abalone live in rocky areas with kelp and primarily feed on bull kelp and giant kelp. Because scuba diving to harvest abalone is banned, the fishery consists of shore pickers searching the rocks at low tide, and free divers using breath-hold diving to search for them. This regulation, essentially, creates a reserve for the abalone in the water below thirty feet, where few divers are skilled enough to go.
Information regarding abalone from The California Department of Fish and Wildlife can be found here, and a page showing the current ocean fishing seasons can be found here. The rules regarding taking of abalone on The Sea Ranch can be found here. Information about the Marine Protected Areas in Northern California can be found here.