Pinto Abalone Dive Transect Monitoring in Select Locations in Southeast Alaska
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Pinto Abalone Dive Transect Monitoring in Select Locations in Southeast Alaska

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    Pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana Jonas 1845), a marine gastropod, range from Salisbury Sound, Alaska to Point Conception, California (Busch et al. 2014). In Alaska, pinto abalone have long been harvested for cultural and commercial purposes (Mills 1982). Commercial harvest in Southeast Alaska began in 1965 and closed in 1996, following an 89% decline in catch during peak harvest years 1978 - 1981 (Woodby et al. 2000, McDougall et al. 2006). Following the closure of the commercial fishery in Alaska, pinto abalone personal use limits were reduced from 50 per day (20 surrounding Sitka) to 5 per day after 2012 (Hebert 2014). No reporting is required for personal use and the size limit of 89 mm is loosely enforced (Scott Walker personal communication). Similar population declines followed pinto abalone fisheries in British Columbia, where all forms of harvest have been closed since 1990 and in Washington State, where there was no prior commercial harvest, but a recreational fishery, which was closed in 1994 following critical population declines. Despite closures, abalone have not fully recovered to populations pre-harvest (Donnellan and Hebert 2017, Rothaus et al. 2008) and pinto abalone in Washington continue to experience recruitment failure (Bouma 2012).
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