Dec 26, 2014 2:01 PM by News Staff
SEATTLE (AP) - The National Marine Fisheries Service has decided not to list a prized 6-inch Pacific marine snail as endangered or threatened.
The federal agency said this week that its review found the pinto abalone is not currently in danger of extinction and does not warrant federal protection under the Endangered Species Act at this time.
The snail, valued for its delicate flavor and mother-of-pearl shell, were once abundant from Alaska to Baja California.
Two conservation groups petitioned the agency last year to conduct a status review for pinto abalone. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity said they need protection because their populations have plummeted due to historical overfishing, poaching, climate change and other factors.
The agency said the shellfish will remain on the agency's "species of concern" list.
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