top of page
  • Writer's pictureAustin Pugh

Meet the Critters: The Northern Abalone

Critter Facts: The northern abalone is the only species of abalone to inhabit Canadian waters. Due to declining populations, northern abalone were listed as an endangered species in 2006, and possession of these critters or their shells without a proper permit can result in fines. This classification stopped an ongoing northern abalone fishery in Canada. Certain coastal Indigenous populations use the northern abalone for food, as well as, the abalone shell to make jewelry and for spiritual and cultural practices.

Abalone crawls over a rock encrusted with algae
Nothern Abalone the in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

OA Impact: Overall abalone have a mixed response to OA, however, a negative impact on shell and body growth has been observed, as well as, a negative impact on survival during the larval stage of life.

Diet: Macro-algae and kelp

Predators: Sea Otters, Humans, crabs, octopuses, sea stars, and certain fish

Habitat: Northern abalone live in the rocky intertidal and kelp beds (usually at around 35m of depth) with their food present. Canada's western coast is an ideal habitat for northern abalone.

Abalone shell shown in multiple orientations against a black background
Photo from: H.Zell

Geographic Distribution of North American Populations: Salisbury Sound Alaska to Baja California

(see the distribution of the northern abalone on Canada's Map of OA Resources by clicking here)

Linnaean Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Mollusca

Class: Gastropoda

Subclass: Vetigastropoda

Order: Lepetellida



Genus: Haliotis

Species: kamtschatkana

Etymology: From Ancient Greek; Halios marine, Ous "ear"

Common Names: Northern Abalone or pinto abalone


If you want to see any other critters featured in this blog let us know by emailing!

All images are from Wikimedia commons and can be found by clicking here!

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page