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Visit to an Abalone Farm


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The Abalone Farm in Cayucos, California
The Abalone Farm in Cayucos, California

The Abalone Farm in Cayucos, California

Photo © Molly Watson

This abalone farm in Cayucos on the Central Coast of California, was established in 1968 when commercial fishing of wild abalone was still allowed. Overfishing brought red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) to the brink of extinction in the 1970s. Management of recreational catch and a shift to aquaculture, like The Abalone Farm, for commercial supply are allowing the wild abalone population along the California coast to re-establish itself.

Sea water is pumped into the farm and minimally filtered. Abalone are a bit of a "canary in the coal mine" for the ocean, and they like the clean water along the Central Coast. That water circulates among the tanks and gets passed back into the ocean. Nothing is added to the water along the way except abalone and the kelp (taken from the same ocean) they eat.

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