NW Marine Life

Delicious And Now Endangered: Can The Pinto Abalone Make A Comeback?

Pinto Abalone: The Endangered Specie

Pinto Abalone. A renowned catch known to Salish sea divers. This sport went on until the species got a few tens close to extinction. And as it is, the hyped delicacy made it. Made it where? List of Endangered Species. You would wonder how it went so fast. You know, being a snail. But the answer is not far fetched.

From the 80s to early 90s, sport divers were allowed to take an estimated 40,000 of these marine snails per year. The bigger problem always lies elsewhere and for the pintos, it lay in the illegal counts demanded in Asia and the number sold in restaurants.

In fact, a Puget Sound trespasser admitted to have heisted some 25,000 to 40, 000 of them. How sad. You get to ask yourself; Why? Still, How? Well, the need for pintos to gather in thickets for spawning made it easy for poachers. As easy as carrying a trapped jellyfish.

That would have been ignorable if it wasn’t so dramatic for abalones to procreate. They are spawners that fling eggs and sperms. Catch if you can huh? This is why their best chance at reproducing is when gathered together. Sounds like family gathering. But, not really. In other words, at least six can make them slam dance.


Pinto abalones enjoy being homebodies all life long. They do not travel over a long distance to find mates. But then, how can that work? The masts don’t allow network signals as far as down the seas. Do they?

Well if they do, we might need some special micro gadgets. At the end, it becomes the work of man after all. Sometime in 2007 and 2008, research divers gathered adult pintos and tried to unite them with other abalones. Doing this, they hoped to fuel the aggregations of breeding. Ironically, they slowly faded away.

Good news is, in 2019, the Washington State already popularised Pintos by including the species in her ” Endangered Species List”. That has put poachers in check and researchers, some bestowed leverage of protection directed at Pinto Abalones. This has gone a long way.

Status Of Pintos

During the relocation of pinto abalones into new sites, there have been quite a number of resulting failures. So, a new strategy is to avoid all failed sites. Perhaps they feel failure begets failure. The scientists began investing more in the good ones – where a greater number of juveniles will survive.

However, researchers have wondered if there are certain imminent carnivores that look like juvenile abalones taking cover like peering into a can filled with pringles. The greenling, a reportedly curious fish is the prime suspect.

When the mystery behind juvenile survival is solved, surely, a self sustaining pinto population stands a chance. Until then, let’s hope to find another Sherlock Holmes in one of these Salish Seas. But for now, this shows how the species got endangered and had their extinction brought closer.

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