Is Abalone Expensive?

A huge marine gastropod mollusk, abalone is pronounced “ab-ah-LOW-nee.” The chilly waters of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and the west coast of North America are where the huge sea snail is most frequently observed. Its meat is particularly appreciated, savory, and rich; it is regarded as a culinary delicacy. Abalone is frequently offered live in the shell, frozen, or canned, making it one of the priciest seafood species available. Despite the fact that it can be eaten raw or added to other meals, it is frequently chopped into thick steaks and pan-fried.

Rare is abalone.

Its rarity is one factor in its high cost. Only a few lucky shorelines throughout the world have these priceless infants; it does not grow elsewhere in the world.

And since everyone is familiar with the law of supply and demand, the price of abalone inevitably increases when its availability is so constrained. Abalone harvesting is very taxing job.

Abalone must be hand-picked one by one, unlike many fish species that may be harvested in a single net haul for a ton of catch. To find them, a diver must dive into the water, select a few, and then return to land before beginning the process all over again.

It requires a lot of labor and has a very low yield. Thus, the price is explained. But given that it doesn’t taste all that nice anyway, why don’t people just quit eating it?

One may certainly argue that many other types of food can taste far better at a lesser cost than abalone, so why do we still eat it? Certainly, when prepared by a skilled chef, abalone can taste like heaven.

Certain foods have historically been so rare and difficult to obtain that the risk of obtaining them surpasses any health benefits (if any) or pleasure they may provide.

Therefore, they are often not regarded as food. However, there is always this attractive man with the title “Emperor” who consumes them for no apparent reason and is seated in a fashionable chair.

Shark fin, abalone, bear paws, and tiger meat are all considered rare foods while offering no special culinary or health benefits.

People became completely enamored with abalone when commercial farming made them much more accessible to the general public. These were treats fit only for the emperor, Do you now see why that can of abalone is so outrageously expensive?

Key ideas

  • Blacklip abalone sent live to China at “beach rates” can earn up to $80, while value-added take can bring in up to $50 per kilogram.
  • The 3,500 quota units of abalone that Tasmania’s 100 active abalone divers are permitted to catch in 2019 weigh 362kg each.
  • Tasmania’s quota has been cut in half, while prices have increased by 50% as a result.

Chinese diners spend up to $200 for a blacklip abalone main course and the equivalent of $100 for an entrée.

According to Dean Lisson of the Abalone Council of Australia, a full dish in Australia costs diners at least $70.

In the past 18 months, beach prices for abalone divers—particularly those in Tasmania who collect the blacklip shellfish—have reached record highs.

Large, extremely healthy, and robust blacklip are available in Tasmania and are suitable for live shipment, according to Mr. Lisson.

They can happily spend up to 30 erratic hours in a regulated container because they are tough and sturdy.

Every blacklip abalone that is sent live to China earns divers a “beach price” of up to $80.

Despite the fact that Australia is home to four different kinds of abalone—greenlip, brownlip, Roe’s, and blacklip—many of the shellfish are unsuitable for live export.

Abalone is still selling for $50 per kilo for divers across the value-added spectrum, according to Mr. Lisson.

The Best and Rarest Seafood in the World: Abalone?

The abalone is a gastropod mollusk famous for being the most valuable shellfish in the world as well as having a shell that resembles the human ear, earning it the moniker “ear-shell.” Let’s investigate why.

Although it can also be found in Great Britain or Normandy, abalone is typically caught in Oceania, the United States, Mexico, and the Indo-Pacific region. It is referred to as the gofiche in the English Channel and as paua in New Zealand, which is its Maori name.

The abalone is prized for both its succulent meat and its polished shell, a stunning carapace made of blue mother of pearl that is iridescent. It is found in nature living on rocky outcrops in the water and eating algae. Abalone’s rough skin forms a very firm hold on the rocks it lives on, making it incredibly challenging to remove and requiring patience, skill, and perseverance.

One of the reasons this shellfish is so pricey is that it is very difficult to capture. In order to blend in with their environment, shells take on the color of algae and hide in crevices that are nearly hard to access by hand. Furthermore, abalone catch is restricted in several nations to twenty pieces per fisherman per day due to the species’ high risk of extinction.

Due to the restricted supply compared to the high demand, the price of wild abalone can reach $500 USD per kg, depending on size. Since a kilo of abalone shells weigh about 250 grams, the fact that they are quite heavy simply makes the problem worse.

Particularly prized in Southeast Asian cuisine is abalone. This prestigious mollusk is renowned as the “truffle of the sea” in Japan, where dishes made with it may cost genuine fortunes.

Without even discussing the flavor, which is a miracle that no one who tries it will ever forget, all of this It has a mild flavor reminiscent of the ocean, and its meat’s crispness, iodine content, and fine texture stand out.

The first time I sampled one, I remarked, “Eating two of the best oysters at the same time would be the closest thing to this.” It’s a real delicatessen.

This mollusc is a specialty of renowned Japanese chef Shinja Fukumoto, who has earned three Michelin stars. He serves it as sashimi, tartare, or carpaccio at his Kobe restaurant Ca Sento. He offers it raw for the more daring, after thoroughly tenderizing it with a mallet on a board to smooth out its texture.

Another outstanding chef, the Spanish Angel Leon of Aponiente, who has earned two Michelin stars, creates a mouthwatering tasting menu that includes abalone cooked in butter and mushrooms.

Abalones have been cultivated in captivity in recent years, but wild abalone stands out because of its excellent flavor that is much more concentrated. That it is currently the most expensive seafood in the world is not unexpected. #


Most markets have this mollusk in the fish area. Its shell is typically discovered with it on ice. Markets typically carry abalone in one of the following varieties:

Fish markets frequently carry fresh abalone. It arrives intact and has a shell on it. When buying one kilogram of abalone, be aware that when the shell is removed, you will only receive roughly 250 g of the meat. It can cost anywhere from $500 to $550, making it a quite pricey cut of meat.

Additionally, frozen abalone is offered in seafood markets. It also has its shell with it. It is also available in fillet form. Since they have no shell and you only pay for the meat, fillets are typically more expensive than whole fish.

After soaking in water for a few days, dried abalone can be utilized as a component. Some supermarkets and grocery stores sell them in dry form. If you buy them, you should wait a few days for them to become soft enough to handle easily.

US wholesale price for 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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What makes abalone so pricey?

Since divers are not permitted to catch as much as they once could, the situation is simply a matter of supply and demand. However, demand is still quite high.

In order to deal with declining populations, the majority of states have had restrictions placed on their abalone quota.

For instance, Tasmania’s 100 active abalone divers can catch 3,500 quota units of the species.

According to Joe McKibben, president of the Tasmanian Abalone Council, the quota is in high demand due to the high cost of beaches.

In Tasmania, quotas were first implemented in 1985; prior to that, there were no catch restrictions.

According to scientists, it caused historically high levels of overfishing, and climate change is still decimating some fisheries.

Large abalone die-offs associated with heat waves have occurred throughout Australia over the past ten years, and long-spined sea urchin habitat has been lost along the south-east coast.

According to Mr. McKibben, the urchin’s economic impact on Tasmania’s abalone fishing alone is in the tens of millions of dollars.

“We’ve lost quite a bit of fishable area, and abalone divers on Tasmania’s east coast have had their quotas cut in half,” he claimed.

Mark Webster, a processing consultant, asserted that he thought the sector had reacted to threats too slowly.

According to him, “our available catch has drastically decreased, creating gaps in the market for other countries to fill.”

Divers have nonetheless profited from the demand for blacklip since, despite a halving of the quota, there has been a 50% increase in price, according to Mr. Webster.

From a processing standpoint, it is still only half as much as what is already contributing to your overheads, which is not good, he continued.

Divers are acting to address challenges to the fishery in every state, according to Dean Lisson.

The annual catch has been reduced, minimum sizes have been raised, and divers are being paid to collect long-spined sea urchins, among other activities.

Although it will take some time, the industry is also considering using farmed juvenile abalone to increase wild stock levels.

“There are dangers and problems with that. Those will likely be resolved within the next two years “said Mr. Lisson.

Why is abalone currently so affordable?

I’ve noticed more individuals purchasing the less expensive abalone that costs $10 or less as a result of Covid-19. A worker at seafood distributor Sin Ocean, also at Victoria Wholesale Centre, Mr. Cyrus Yap, said: “Many people have lost their jobs or suffered salary cuts due to Covid-19. Few people would be interested in eating abalone.

Is abalone the priciest fish available?

Abalone continues to keep its position as one of the most costly seafood products in the world today. It was once known as the “elixir of life” and the “emperor of shellfish.” Like with other fish, aquaculture has replaced wild fishing as the primary method of production, and today over 95% of abalone is produced this way.

Which abalone brand is the best?

Since 1973, Skylight, a canned abalone manufacturer in Western Australia, has been in business. The company is situated in Albany, which puts it close to some of Australia’s top fishing spots.

It uses abalone that has been captured in the wild and cans them using a special secret mixture of natural saltwater obtained from local wells on Washington’s untamed south coast.

The product, which is solely 100% meat, costs about $58 for a 425g can.