Seafood Watch - Seafood Guide

Abalone

© Monterey Bay Aquarium
SEAFOODRATINGMARKET NAMESLOCATION/CERTIFICATIONHOW CAUGHT/FARMED
Abalone Best Choice: These fish are abundant, well managed and fished or farmed in environmentally friendly ways. Green Abalone, Pink Abalone, Red Abalone, Awabi Worldwide Contained Production
Abalone Avoid: Avoid these products for now. These fish come from sources that are overfished or fished or farmed in ways that harm the environment. Green Abalone, Pink Abalone, Red Abalone, Awabi China, Japan Sea Ranched


Abalone, Farmed, Worldwide

Abalone farmed in land- and sea-based enclosures are a "Best Choice." Sea-ranched abalone from China and Japan are an "Avoid."

Consumer Note

Abalone is known as awabi when prepared for sushi.

Summary

Abalone are native to temperate and tropical oceans around the world. Of the 100 species found worldwide, approximately 15 are farmed for human consumption.

Roughly one-fifth of all abalone in the U.S. market is raised domestically. The rest is imported primarily from Mexico, Australia, Chile and China. These countries generally use land-based tanks or tethered ocean cages where the farmed abalone primarily eat marine algae. In addition, minimal chemical use means effluent from these farms has very little environmental impact.

In China and Japan, some abalone are raised in "sea ranches" that are, in essence, underwater pastures for farmed abalone to graze. Large areas of seafloor are modified for farming purposes, resulting in significant changes to the habitat. Potential predators and other grazing species are removed, and widespread control over the types of animals and plants found within the ranched area is maintained.

While farmed abalone is usually a good option to buy, sea-ranched abalone is rated as an "Avoid" due to the potential significant changes to ocean habitat and the disruption and disturbance to all other forms of marine life that live within the ranch.

Look for abalone farmed in land- or sea-based enclosures as a "Best Choice."


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How fish are caught or farmed makes a difference. Fishing boat