SAN DIEGO — California wildlife officials have voted to cancel the 2018 abalone fishing season due to concerns about mass starvation among the mollusks along Sonoma and Mendocino coasts.
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the state Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 Thursday during a public meeting in San Diego.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife made the recommendation to cancel next year’s season after six scuba diving scientists surveyed seafloors and logged 37 per cent of the abalone they saw as dead.
Fish and Wildlife senior scientist Laura Roger-Bennett says abalone shells that were empty or filled with decaying flesh were common and described the abalone outlook as bleak.
The mollusks are being affected by a massive kelp die-off. Red abalone feed on kelp and cannot reproduce easily when facing starvation.