Ten Thousand Years of Black Abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) Fishing along California's Channel Islands: Implications for Restoration Site Selection

Braje, Todd J. -- San Diego State University, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Identifying appropriate ecological conditions for population restoration is important for endangered species such as black abalone (Haliotis cracherodii) in California, but little information exists regarding restoration locations. Using a combination of archaeological and commercial fishing data, four optimal locations for restoration based on past relative abundances of black abalone were identified: northwestern, northeastern, and south-central San Miguel Island and west San Nicolas Island. These locations around California’s Channel Islands have supported dense black abalone communities for 10,000 years and may offer optimal environmental conditions to enhance the success of black abalone restoration. The historical ecological strategy outlined here illustrates the promise of integrating prehistoric, historical, and modern fishery data to inform restoration of threatened and endangered abalone, oysters, and other shellfish around the world.