Southern California Green Abalone and Kelp Forest Restoration Project: January 1, 2012 – September 30, 2015

(Abstract) The Southern California Green Abalone and Kelp Forest Restoration Project aims to restore populations of green abalone (Haliotis fulgens), a federal species of concern, to Southern California where they were once plentiful and supported a thriving commercial fishing industry.

This pilot project explored methods of spawning, rearing, and outplanting green abalone, investigated the genetic population structure, and assessed disease of green abalone in Southern California.

Project results found that the green abalone population in Southern California is panmitic, allowing for translocation and breeding trials to move forward. Disease testing also revealed that RLP, the etiological agent for withering foot syndrome, was present in green abalone from all study sites. Specialized larval and juvenile outplanting equipment was developed and constructed in preparation for outplanting abalone into the wild. Experimental “deck spawning” techniques were tested as an alternative to collecting broodstock and keeping them in captivity. One juvenile outplanting event was conducted in Palos Verdes, CA and monitoring of the outplant site is ongoing. Successful techniques and methods from the project are expected to be transferred to restoration and monitoring efforts for Black (Haliotis cracherodii) and White (Haliotis sorenseni) which are federally endangered species.