Even out snorkeling near Avalon on Catalina, you can see a noticeably healthy marine community.
|the casino at Avalon, Catalina Island|
Upon my last quick boat trip out to the Channel Islands - Jess and I took special notice of the abundant abalone tucked into seams along the sandstone reefs. We found the healthiest populations along the windward side of the islands. And of course, this goes without saying - if you see them - leave them be, as they are heavily protected. Harvesting is illegal in Southern California.
|sailing Dave's Endeavor 38 across the channel|
Black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) is a marine gastropod - specifically a mollusk.
This mollusk has a smooth dark shell. As you see in the pictures below, the outer shell often looks blue.
At one point, this species was abundant all across the west coast of North America, but it is now listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
Overfishing and Withering Syndrome have led to its demise.
|Black abalone hanging upside down at low tide|
Gorgeous black abalone gather in clumps. This is because they reproduce as broadcast spawners. They release their egg and sperm into the water at high tide. If they aren't packed in tight to each other, their gametes may not find each other.
|healthy abalone in the Channel Islands|