Pinto Abalone has once again been passed on becoming an endangered species. While that may sound like good news for the native sea snail species that live off the West Coast of the US in the Pacific Ocean, the news was actually quite devastating. More than a year ago, several petitions were signed by thousands and submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Services to have the Pinto Abalone considered for endangerment. However, more than a year later – and after another round of consideration – the sea snail was passed on.
Interestingly, officials from the Marine Fisheries Service did acknowledge that the habitat of the Pinto Abalone was being seriously impacted by overharvesting, poor policing and enforcement of laws regarding the sea snail, and even changes in habitat due to climate changes – the overall population of the sea snails was not impacted enough to reach “endangered” classification. Brad Sewel, an attorney for the National Resource Diversity Center has been spending a lot of time reviewing the findings and looking into the possible solutions that the group could push to change.
However, it appears as though even legal action would only make the situation worse, rather than actually help the sea snails find safer refuge. Many have argued that the species is creeping closer, and closer to extinction, and that ultimately the species will be too far gone by the time the Marine Fisheries Service takes any action – and that is what those who are advocating for the Pinto Abalone are working for.
While the pinto abalone hasn’t made it to the endangered species list – they did make it to the “species of concern” list – which was at the very least an upgrade from what they were previously. While the pinto abalone does not appear to be going extinct in the foreseeable future, Sewel had a grim outlook regarding the sea snail. He said, “It’s disappointing. We believed that the pinto abalones qualified for the list. The only way of saving the species is to address the health of the species early on and get it back to robust, diverse populations.”