Pacific Abalone

12 05 2009

Sunday’s Seattle Times had a good story about Puget Sound’s lone abalone species — it’s one of several stories they’ve run that make me realize that poaching is a big deal — of big game, big trees, or Pinto Abalone.

Biologists calculated that this thief took as much by himself as all other recreational fishermen combined in some years. And no one believed he was the region’s only poacher.

It’s also got lots of lovely detail.

Polished pieces of shell become saxophone keys, pocketknife handles and guitar inlays.

The creature looked like a simple gnarled stone — until it danced.

On a recent spring day in a Mukilteo marine laboratory, a single pinto abalone rose up on its milky foot, the shell resembling a mushroom cap, and swiveled to and fro like a child surveying a room. Then it pushed across a table toward the edge.

The basic theory is that abalone populations are shrinking because they’ve reached the opposite of critical mass.

Read about it: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009202083_abalone10m.html

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