More often found around the San Juan Islands, Dan Driscoll discovered this small abalone shell near Oysterville in May 2016.

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife  is seeking public comment on its final report and recommendation to list the pinto abalone as endangered in Washington state.

The pinto abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana), a native mollusk historically prized as food and for its beautiful shell, has experienced a drastic reduction in population in recent decades. From 1992-2017, the population fell by an estimated 97 percent, putting the species at risk of local extinction.

"Our abalone captive-breeding and reintroduction program is a promising recovery strategy, but much work remains to achieve self-sustaining populations in the state,” said Hank Carson, WDFW research scientist.

WDFW previously sought public comment on the proposed listing beginning in October 2018, and hosted eight presentations around Puget Sound. Agency staff presented information from the initial public comment period to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in early April.

The public is now invited to comment on the final status report for the Pinto Abalone in Washington, which can be found on the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/02031

Comments on the proposed listing can be submitted to Carson at WDFW via email at Henry.Carson@dfw.wa.gov, or by mail to the WDFW Fish Program, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.

The comment period is expected to remain open until May 15, with a decision on the recommendation expected during the commission’s May 31 conference call.

For more information about the pinto abalone in Washington, see WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/species/haliotis-kamtschatkana.

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