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May 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 33, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The End of American Abalone Diving?

a desperate situation demands desperate measures

from the May, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Usually, the first weekend of April is when abalone divers pack up their wetsuits and fins and head off to campsites along Northern California's Sonoma and Mendocino counties coast. It's a unique delicacy that cannot be commercially sold, so restaurants pay as much as $125 a pound for farm-raised abalone.

However, this year's recreational abalone season -- only free diving is permitted -- is closed because the abalone population is on the brink of collapse, thanks mainly to the purple sea urchin, an overpopulated species that has laid waste to the struggling kelp forests, home to abalone, the commercially viable red sea urchin, small fish and the invertebrates that other larger fish feed on....


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