Red Abalone

Red Abalone
Common Name Red Abalone
Scientific name Haliotis rufescens

Sourcing Summary

Size

<4 Inches

Farmed abalone is available year-round although the supply is limited and the prices may be high. Red abalone is produced live, fresh, frozen, as well as processed and tenderized, dried, salted, and canned. Farmed U.S. red abalone should be between two to three inches in size, any larger than four inches and it’s either imported or illegally poached. Tenderized and cooked abalone is mild and slightly sweet in taste with a firm and tender texture, however if there are needle marks in an abalone steak, it is actually tenderized cuttlefish.

Product Forms

Fresh/Frozen
Fresh
Product Forms
Live
Raw Shucked
Steaks
Fresh/Frozen
Frozen
Product Forms
Raw Shucked
Steaks
Value-Added

Fresh Seasonal Availability

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes

Culinary Composition

Mild

Flavor

Delicate

Texture

Cooking Methods

Health/Nutrition

Nutrition facts

Serving Size: 100g
Amount per serving
Calories 105
Total Fat 0.76g
Cholesterol 85mg
Sodium 301mg
Carbohydrates 0g
Protein 17.1g
Omega-3 0.1g

Science & Management

Conservation Criteria - Wild

Conservation Criteria - Farmed

Data

The Monterey Bay Aquarium calls abalone farming a highly regulated, well-managed industry due in part to the long, intense process of obtaining abalone farming permits from several state and regional agencies. In California, that includes the State Water Resources Board, Regional Water Quality Board, Coastal Development Commission. Once the farm is in operation, several agencies monitor it and any changes to the original facility design must be approved. Despite the existence of abalone farming operations, poaching remains prevalent. A third of abalone traded worldwide is estimated to have been caught illegally.

Habitat Impacts

Red abalone counts for most of the abalone produced by Californian facilities, which grow the abalone either inland suspended in barrels or in cages suspended in sheltered waterways. China and Taiwan produce most of the world’s abalone. Strides are being made in producing farmed abalone sustainably internationally.

Feed

The largest Chinese farming operations grow their own kelp to feed abalone. Others use wild kelp. In California, where kelp has been harvested for various uses since 1911, some diving groups and conservation organizations are opposed to taking wild kelp for abalone farming. The Monterey Bay Aquarium cites a report by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stating that kelp harvesting has had “no significant negative impacts on the kelp forest.” In South Africa research is under way to find alternatives to fresh kelp for feed.

Disease, Pathogen and Parasite Interaction

In the early 1990s, a parasitic pest called the sabellid worm that causes shells to become brittle and deformed ravaged South African abalone farms. However, government and industry research has nearly eradicated the problem, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In California, abalone farms are spot-tested to check for the worm, and can become certified as sabellid-free. A disease called withering syndrome has been even more problematic because it killed abalone. The bacteria that causes this disease is also found in natural systems, so it’s just as likely to damage wild populations, reports the Monterey Bay Aquarium. State and federal agencies monitor for the disease.

Origin Method Ratings
All Other Origins All Other Farming Methods  
Worldwide Contained  
Name Country State / Province
American Abalone United States California
Catalina Offshore Products United States California
Harbor Pride Seafood United States California
Mikuni Wild Harvest United States Washington
Monterey Abalone Company United States California
Real Good Fish United States California
Royal Hawaiian Seafood United States California
Sea Forager Seafood United States California
The Abalone Farm United States California
The Cultured Abalone Farm United States California