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Species at Risk

Northern Abalone

Haliotis kamtschatkana

Why protect the Northern Abalone?

We have much to learn about the marine environment, the relationships between the creatures that live there, and the roles that humans play in that environment. What we do know is that a healthy marine ecosystem has all of its parts-the northern abalone is one of those parts.

What is Parks Canada doing to save the Northern Abalone?

Close-up of a Northern Abalone in a crevice
Northern Abalone.
© Parks Canada / Tomas Tomascik

Community participation is essential to successfully rebuilding Northern Abalone populations around Haida Gwaii (the Queen Charlotte archipelago).

Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is participating in the Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewardship Program. This unique community-oriented partnership was initiated by the Haida Fisheries Program of the Council of the Haida Nation and currently brings together the following concerned partners:

  • Laskeek Bay Conservation Society
  • Haida Gwaii Marine Resources Group Association
  • Skidegate Band Council
  • World Wildlife Fund Canada
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)
  • Environment Canada
  • Centre for Wildlife Ecology at Simon Fraser University
  • Parks Canada

The objectives of the partnership include increasing awareness, promoting stewardship through education and information, implementing and monitoring recovery programs, and providing feedback to the community in Haida Gwaii. The goal is to restore abalone populations to self-sustaining levels that could support local harvest for food.

  • Since 2000, this dynamic partnership has accomplished a wide variety of work, including:
  • the creation of a collaborative Community Action Plan that outlines strategies for rebuilding the abalone populations;
  • the development and implementation of an abalone conservation curriculum for local schools;
  • the installation of over 50 artificial abalone habitats for monitoring purposes;
  • the establishment of 20 long-term monitoring sites where over 3000 abalones have been tagged to determine their growth and natural survival rates; and
  • the formation of a local monitoring and enforcement network called “Coastwatch/Abalone Watch,” which brings together Parks Canada wardens, Haida Fisheries Guardians, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, DFO Fishery Officers, community members, tourism operators, and fishers.

Time and continued population monitoring will reveal the success of this unique community-oriented partnership. Since so little is known about the Northern Abalone, any information we gain about their natural history will improve our understanding of the species and, hopefully, our recovery efforts.