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California’s 2018 abalone fishing canceled by officials

December 8, 2017
FILE - In this April 21, 2017 file photo, abalone divers brave Pacific Ocean surf as they hunt for the shellfish at low tide in Fort Ross, Calif. California wildlife officials have voted to cancel the 2018 abalone fishing season due to concerns about mass starvation among the mollusks along Sonoma and Mendocino coasts. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the state Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 Thursday, Dec. 7 during a public meeting in San Diego. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
FILE - In this April 21, 2017 file photo, abalone divers brave Pacific Ocean surf as they hunt for the shellfish at low tide in Fort Ross, Calif. California wildlife officials have voted to cancel the 2018 abalone fishing season due to concerns about mass starvation among the mollusks along Sonoma and Mendocino coasts. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the state Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 Thursday, Dec. 7 during a public meeting in San Diego. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — California wildlife officials have voted to cancel the 2018 abalone fishing season due to concerns about mass starvation among the mollusks along Sonoma and Mendocino coasts.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports the state Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 Thursday during a public meeting in San Diego.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife made the recommendation to cancel next year’s season after six scuba diving scientists surveyed seafloors and logged 37 percent of the abalone they saw as dead.

Fish and Wildlife senior scientist Laura Roger-Bennett says abalone shells that were empty or filled with decaying flesh were common and described the abalone outlook as bleak.

The mollusks are being affected by a massive kelp die-off. Red abalone feed on kelp and cannot reproduce easily when facing starvation.

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Information from: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, http://www.pressdemocrat.com

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