This blog was originally posted on Medium here.
“It’s a level of abundance that the state will probably never see again.”
That’s the final line from a 2018 San Francisco Chronicle article about the decline of abalone populations in California. Currently, the long-popular recreational dive fishery for red abalone north of San Francisco is and will remain closed until at least 2021. The immediate causes were the combined effects of the 2014 – 2016 El Niño plus warming ocean temperatures plus an explosion of purple sea urchins, which decimated the bull kelp, the abalone’s main source of food.