California Loves Healthy Abs! Help protect endangered abalone. | Gallery Drinkware (Formerly Water Gallery)

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California Loves Healthy Abs

Southern California has had a decades-long marine life crisis with the near-extinction of its white abalone population, a marine mollusk with a shell and a muscular foot that helps it adhere to rocky ocean surfaces where it can scrape and consume algae. White abalone are a major food source for sea otters and other marine animals, so the bolstering of the abalone population is absolutely crucial to the maintenance of the marine food chain (and subsequently, the human food chain). As is true of most of the endangered animal species on our planet, humans hunted them in excess, leading to the near-decimation of the species. As a result, fishing for abalone along the California coast was banned in 1997 (and today harvesting abalone is limited to skin diving or diving underwater with only one breath of air-- no SCUBA equipment). Unfortunately, the species still faces near-extinction in 2015 (having been on the endangered species list since 2001). Scientists estimate that there are a mere 1,600 remaining abalone on the California coast, which is less than 0.1% of the pre-exploitation population.

A potential solution for the endangered abalone problem is to grow abalone in captivity and then release them into the wild in the hopes that this will help increase the population. Because the current estimate of abalone is so low, reproduction at the rate that is needed to replenish the species is highly unlikely in the wild. A male and female abalone need to be within a few meters of one another to spawn successfully, which is virtually impossible in its present state of near-extinction. Issues always arise when attempts are made to release captive animals into the wild, but this may be the only option to augment the diminished white abalone species.

Aquarium of the Pacific, white abalone "hanging out" on the glass

Long Beach, California's Aquarium of the Pacific is taking part in the research for increasing the abalone population. We especially love what the aquarium is doing to educate young minds regarding these all-important missions to help augment and protect endangered marine species. We at Water Gallery are going to continue to follow these significant marine life developments and stress the crucial importance of protecting our seas and our sea animals.

Aquarium of the Pacific, kids' hands-on abalone exhibit

 

 

3 comments

Aug 08, 2015 • Posted by Vicki H

Wow, I never knew they were on the verge of extinction!
I hope the Aquarium of the Pacific research is helpful in the repopulation effort!

Aug 08, 2015 • Posted by Sherry Carter

This seems to be a good thing!

Aug 01, 2015 • Posted by Orla

As long as it’s done for the right reasons captivity might be worth a try in this situation.

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