Can You Sell Abalone Shells In California?

If the sea star is between the mean high tide line and 1,000 feet seaward of the mean low tide line, is it against the law to take it from nearby rocks in California? You are only permitted to capture 35 sea stars outside of this area if you have a valid fishing license. If you do decide to go beyond the no-take zone and you’re in Monterey County north of Yankee Point, you can only take them when free diving.

It is often permitted to acquire abalone shells and shell fragments for your own use, according to California Fish and Game. But these shells cannot be sold or turned into items for sale. Shell collecting is illegal in marine reserves, state underwater parks, and other restricted places. However, it should be noted that the dust produced during the polishing and fabrication of abalone jewelry is extremely poisonous to both people and animals.

Why we don’t sell abalone shells because of ethics

  • Farm-based origin sourcing has been quite difficult; we can usually tell you what country or even area something is from, but not specific farm.
  • We can’t guarantee if an animal had high standards of welfare or was raised responsibly if we can’t tell you which farm it originated from.

An abalone is actually a giant Haliotidae family sea snail that has been flattened. Aquaculture is the primary method used to raise abalone, which is primarily raised for the food sector for its flesh (foot muscle). Abalone shells are utilized in both mother-of-pearl and metaphysical rituals such as smudging, smoke purification, and jewelry recharging. Whole shells are used for ornamentation.

Due to overfishing, poaching, and the acidification of the oceans brought on by carbon dioxide emissions, wild abalone is in danger of going extinct. On the US federal endangered species list, white and black abalone are included. You can virtually be certain that the shells you see in stores are a by-product of aquaculture cultivation for the seafood industry, just like leather is a by-product of the beef industry, as it is believed that wild, illegally captured abalone shells only sometimes infiltrate the supply chain.

China, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea are among the countries that practice abalone aquaculture. Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, and the United States are other countries that raise abalone for food.

The problem is that wholesalers typically are aware of the place of origin, the fact that their abalone is not an endangered species, and the fact that it was imported legally. It is more difficult for them to determine who raised them or whether strict animal welfare rules were followed.

Some abalone farmers are outstanding at maintaining the health of their animal stock, are organically certified, and feed their animals fresh kelp and algae, which is their natural diet. However, there are some farmers who, for instance, feed abalone pellets composed of fish meal (ground-up fish), despite the fact that abalone are herbivores and vegetarians. Some aquaculture operations additionally employ machine grading (sizing), which frequently results in observable stress in the animal and shell damage; in order to carry out this procedure, the animal must be CO2 anesthetized. Because abalones lack the ability to coagulate their blood, using knives or ab-irons to free them from their position can result in hemorrhage and even death.

Many suppliers are unable to ensure animal welfare because there is currently insufficient farm source tracking for shells, making it impossible to determine from which farms their abalone shells originated.

This is based on our individual opinions and experiences. Other retailers might be confident in how they handle the abalone since they have relationships with trustworthy, ethical, organic aquaculture growers. Although we have heard rumors about excellent, red abalone farms in California and France, we have yet to locate a trustworthy supplier.

Getting abalone shells for selling in jewelry: DFG California Outdoors Q & A.

Have you noticed the strewn-about shell collections at the abalone farms? After reading your comment, I would be purchasing my jewelry supplies from them.

So, by that logic, I wouldn’t be able to sell the gun if the inlay material I used to hide the lead ballast on this pistol I created just so happened to be made from shells leftover from abalone I obtained using my sport fishing license?


That is lovely, and I want to use it to fill the gap left by my two empty daytime magazines. I’ll get to that project eventually.

What if you “gift” them rather than “sell” them to someone who donates money to a good cause, like keeping the kiddie pool open?

The seal Nazis down there assert that they don’t actually sell t-shirts and other items, but rather give them to individuals who provide a little payment instead.

Where in northern California may I get abalone shells?

At Mile Marker 48.03 in Mendocino County, Van Damme State Park is one of Northern California’s most well-known diving sites.

Where in California can I find abalone?

Trophy abalone diving is a distinctive extreme water activity practiced primarily around the coastlines of Sonoma, Mendocino, and, of course, Sea Ranch in northern California. This is the region that we jokingly refer to as Mendonoma.

All abalone harvesting is prohibited until April 1, 2026 due to the purple urchin’s effect on the ocean floor becoming barren, the disease “wasting away” sea stars, the decline of kelp forests due to rising water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, and other factors (and may be extended). The laws will then be reviewed, as well as the wellbeing of the marine life.

But we can still fantasize about the good old days and wish they come back soon.

When sport diving for red abalone (Haliotis rufescens), or “ab” as they are affectionately known, every diver dreams of catching the big one. They can be found in rocky intertidal and subtidal environments, where they cling to rocks up to 65 meters beneath the surface.

My spouse and his friend are not any different when staying at Abalone Bay. They dive as frequently as they can in search of the succulent mollusk. Clinging to the rocks, they were all competing to be the biggest. Given the rules, Jorge admits to just trophy abalone diving at this time. His outlook is:

In fact, the reason we chose the name “Abalone Bay” for our vacation rental was because Jorge, my husband, discovered a 10-inch abalone while trophy abalone diving the morning we decided to buy our Sea Ranch property!

How could divers of all ages and experience levels not want to test their abilities at nabbing a big one when the bluff access is right outside our back door and a neighboring staircase at Smugglers Cove leads them to the water’s edge?

Abalone is permitted in California?

I Beginning on April 1, 2026: Baggage and annual trip restrictions: You’re allowed to eat three red abalone, or Haliotis rufescens, per day. A person may never have more than three abalone in their possession. No one may acquire or take any other species of abalone.

How common are abalone shells?

Pearls created by abalone can be used to create jewelry. Finding abalone pearls is really fortunate because they are incredibly uncommon.

They can develop in the stomach, near the shell’s edge, or in the mother-of-pearl shell. Pearls can only be produced by one in several hundred abalone mollusks.

Only one thing is certain. Wearing this unique gemstone jewelry without being aware of its spiritual meaning is not advised.

Are California’s abalone endangered?

The white abalone is a member of a genus of marine snails that historically thrived in California and consume plants. Off the coast of California, they used to number in the millions, but they are now in danger.

Native Americans around California’s coast have consumed abalone for thousands of years prior to the advent of commercial fishing. The oldest known human settlements, or “middens,” are large collections of abalone shells. Along lines beginning in southern California and ending east of the Mississippi River, abalone shells were also trafficked.

In the coastal seas of Southern California and Mexico, white abalone are still alive and well. When the environment is ideal, they are “broadcast spawners,” releasing millions of eggs and sperm into the water. They can grip firmly to rocks and other hard surfaces thanks to their powerful, muscular “foot,” and their oval-shaped shells shield them from predators. Despite the fact that white abalone fishing has been prohibited in California since 1997 due to the high cost of the meat, abalone continue to be a target of poachers.

In California, when did abalone become forbidden?

Both commercial and recreational divers were prohibited from harvesting abalone in southern California in 1997. The California State Department of Fish and Game implemented this prohibition after realizing that there were so few abalone in southern California that it was feared some species may go extinct.

What is the cost of abalone?

US abalone is expected to cost between $8.66 and $8.77 per pound or between US$ 19.09 and 19.33 per kilogram in 2022. (lb).

The cost is 19.09 euros per kilogram. The average cost of a tonne in New York and Washington is US$ 19093.48.

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How did the abalone in California fare?

These formerly numerous animals were all but extinct in a matter of decades due to overfishing, disease, and climate change. Two of California’s seven abalone species (the black and white abalone) are officially federally listed as endangered in the United States, and none are currently accessible for fishing.

Is it prohibited to fish for abalone?

Since 1997, commercial abalone fishing has been prohibited. When a wave of environmental stressors started taking its toll around five years ago, the only red abalone fishery still in operation was for recreational purposes.

Why is abalone prohibited?

Taking abalone from the water is prohibited. Due to overfishing, abalone populations are presently at critically low levels. The main threat to abalone is poaching. Large syndicates either distribute drugs or pay people in nearby towns to illegally take abalone out of the water. After that, the abalone is shipped abroad.

Abalone will soon go extinct in the wild if poaching keeps up at current rate, which will have a terrible effect on the kelp forests’ biological balance as well as on nearby communities.

What kind of abalone is the priciest?

The price of a kilogram of wild-caught abalone can reach US$500 (S$680). However, when the shell is included, just around 25% of it is flesh. Prices for the dried wild abalone produced by the Tasmanian company Candy Abalone have reached A$1,400 (S$1,300) per kilogram in the Chinese market.

How can the age of an abalone shell be determined?

Cutting the shell through the cone, staining it, and counting the number of rings under a microscope are the tedious and time-consuming steps involved in determining the age of an abalone. The age can be predicted using other metrics that are simpler to get. 4177 abalones were used to measure these characteristics.