Tide to Table Profiles: The Cultured Abalone Farm
The Cultured Abalone Farm is located in Goleta, California.
The Cultured Abalone Farm uses state-of-the-art tanks with water from the Santa Barbara Channel to raise red abalone, a marine gastropod native to the California coast. The farm raises the abalones from hatchlings to adulthood, moving them to progressively larger tanks as they grow.
Getting to Know the Abalone
Many cultures around the world dine on abalone; these large, flat marine snails can be enjoyed raw or cooked. Seven species of abalone can be found on the West Coast of North America (red, pink, black, green, white, pinto, and flat). The red abalone, Haliotis rufescens, is one of the most popular and common abalone in North American markets. It is the largest species of abalone in the world and is well suited for farming. The red abalone also has one of the best meat-to-shell ratios of any of the meat abalone.
From Hatchery to Market
To raise abalone, the farm uses an innovative system of seawater tanks which pump water from the Santa Barbara Channel. The tanks are shaded from the sun and designed to emulate the abalone’s rocky natural habitat. Within these enclosures, abalone forage on an ample supply of seaweed and algae grown onsite. It takes about three years for a farmed abalone to reach full size for the seafood market.
Farm owner Doug Bush is a member of the NOAA Fisheries White Abalone Recovery Team. The primary goal of this recovery team is to ensure the recovery of the white abalone population throughout its range. The team's efforts include a captive breeding program and experimental outplanting.
Recipe: Mermaid Style Abalone
- 1-3 abalone per person
- Minced garlic to taste
- Butter to taste
- Heat grill on high.
- Prep abalone by placing a large pat of butter and your desired amount of minced garlic on the meat side of the abalone.
- Place prepped abalone on the grill, shell side down. Cook for 4 minutes.
- Flip abalone to meat side down (the butter will flare up, this is ok!). Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and scoop the meat from the shell. Trim the internal organs, known as viscera, from the shell side and slice the abalone thin. Enjoy!
To see additional recipes and learn more about The Cultured Abalone Farm, visit their website.
Sustainable Seafood from Tide to Table
The Tide to Table series profiles members of the aquaculture community, who provide valuable jobs and increase access to fresh, sustainably sourced American seafood. Aquaculture is about more than seafood production. It also promotes ecosystem stewardship, coastal communities, and economic opportunities.