Moss Landing Marine Labs researchers Peter Hain and Kayla Roy along with California Sea Grant Aquaculture Specialist Luke Gardner have spent the past two years raising endangered white abalone at the SJSU/MLML Aquaculture Center. These marine snails started out as tiny larvae but have grown to ~2 inches long and are now ready to be released into the wild to help save their species.
On February 19th, a total of 902 abalone were transferred from MLML to the Southern California Marine Institute. These endangered mollusks received VIP treatment and were flown by private plane from Monterey Bay to Los Angeles courtesy of LightHawk volunteer pilot David Houghton. The abalone will be cared for by staff from The Bay Foundation until they pass a health check and are ready to be released into the wild. There are currently only a few thousand wild white abalone, so this release will be a huge bump to the population.
This project is part of a large multi-institutional effort funded by NOAA Fisheries and coordinated by the White Abalone Captive Breeding Program based at Bodega Marine Laboratory of UC Davis. Thank you to all of our fantastic partners for making this important work possible!