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Pinto Abalone
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Scientific Name Haliotis kamtschatkana
Conservation Status Threatened/Endangered
Family Bivalve
Habitat Kelp beds on the west coast
Food Plankton, kelp, algae


The northern abalone or pinto abalone, Haliotis kamtschatkana, is a species of large edible sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusk in the family Haliotidae, the abalones.

Pinto abalone are found in kelp beds along outer well-exposed coasts from Sitka, Alaska along the coast of Canada to Point Conception, California.

This species lives on rocky shores. These abalones are found intertidally or subtidally near kelp to 30 feet (9 m) depth, but they can be found to 330 feet (100 m) depth. They are herbivorous.

Population size has declined due to overharvest, illegal harvest, predators, and disease. Because of concerns about its status the Northern Abalone is a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service Species of Concern. Species of Concern are those species about which the U.S. Government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), has some concerns regarding status and threats, but for which insufficient information is available to indicate a need to list the species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The species is called pinto abalone by NMFS.

The state of Washington never permitted commercial harvest and recreation take was outlawed in 1994. Alaska outlawed commercial harvest in 1996.

Harvest has been illegal in Canada since 1990.

See www.sararegistry.gc.ca/species/speciesDetails

The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) has listed it as a threatened species. The Canadian Species at Risk Act listed it in the List of Wildlife Species at Risk as being threatened in Canada.

This species is now endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, mainly due to uncontrolled harvesting and poaching of the species for food.

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