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 a survey revealed 37 percent of all abalone recorded were dead.
Fish and Wildlife senior scientist Laura Roger-Bennett says shells empty or filled with decaying flesh littered the seafloor and that the outlook for the abalone is bleak.
The mollusks are being affected by a massive kelp die-off. Red abalone feed on kelp and cannot reproduce as easily when facing starvation.