Shellfish Atlas

Of the eight species of abalone found in the Pacific waters along the coast of North American only the northern abalone lives in B.C waters. Northern abalone, also known as pinto abalone, has been an important food source for First Nation peoples for untold generations. They are also considered a delicacy in many countries worldwide.

A commercial abalone fishery has existed along the coast of B.C. since the early 1900s. Sharp population declines in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in the closure of the abalone commercial fishery in 1990. Continued declines lead to the northern abalone being designated as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 1999. Locally, the Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewards are working towards rebuilding abalone populations to levels that will support sustainable food fisheries in the waters surrounding Haida Gwaii.

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