December 22, 2006 - By Center for Biological Diversity
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal
administrative petition today seeking to have the Black Abalone protected
under the federal Endangered Species Act. The Black Abalone, an intertidal
invertebrate ranging from Coos Bay, Oregon to Cape San Lucas, Baja
California has declined by as much as 99 percent in significantly large
portions of its range.
Once occurring at densities of up to 120 per square meter, the Black Abalone
was among the most common and visible invertebrates in Southern California
tidepools. The Black Abalone has now virtually disappeared from the Southern
California mainland and from many areas of the Channel Islands where it was
once most abundant.
The primary drivers of the decline of Black Abalone are commercial fishing,
which severely depleted most populations, followed by the outbreak and
spread of a disease, withering syndrome. This disease, has devastated
remaining populations in the Channel Islands and Southern California and is
spreading northward through the remaining range of the species.
While, in California at least, fishing of Black Abalone is now banned,
withering syndrome has yet to be controlled and remains a dire threat to the
continued existence of the species. Moreover, withering syndrome is more
virulent in warm water conditions; as the sea temperatures off California
and Oregon rise in the face of global warming, the deadly effects of
withering syndrome are likely to spread to the currently unaffected abalone
in the northern portion of the species' range.
Full story at