Species in the Spotlight: Priority Actions 2021–2025, White Abalone
The Species in the Spotlight initiative is a concerted agency-wide effort to spotlight and save endangered marine species most at-risk of extinction in the near future. This plan focuses on priority actions needed in 2021–2025 for white abalone.
In 2015, NOAA Fisheries launched the Species in the Spotlight initiative to provide immediate, targeted efforts to halt declines and stabilize populations of the species most at-risk of extinction in the near future. The priority action plans are part of a strategy to focus resources within and outside of NOAA, guide agency actions where we have discretion to make investments, increase public awareness and support for these species, and expand partnerships. The 2021–2025 Priority Action Plans outline actions that are needed in the next 5 years to address the most urgent threats to the species.
The white abalone, an herbivorous marine snail, was selected as a Species in the Spotlight because it was brought to the brink of extinction by a combination of factors, most notably a brief but intense commercial fishery in southern California prior to 1980. Fragmented populations that are likely experiencing reproductive failure have not recovered despite the fishery closure in 1997. White abalone’s role as a keystone grazer in subtidal kelp forests contributes to sustaining higher species diversity and stability in the ecosystem. NOAA Fisheries and its partners can prevent the extinction of this endangered kelp forest architect by continuing to restore populations until they reach sustainable levels through a captive propagation, enhancement, research, and monitoring program.