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.
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.
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)
Etymology: From Ancient Greek; Halios marine, Ous "ear"
Common Names: Northern Abalone or pinto abalone
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