Abalone

Abalone

Red Abalone, © Amadeo Bachar

At a glance

Eco-rating Mercury Omega-3s
+-Abalone (farmed)
Best
Low

More about Abalone

Abalone are large marine snails with a wide distribution across the world's oceans. Abalone feed on algae and are protected by a rounded shell, domed at one end.

Commercial sources

Most of the abalone on the U.S. market is imported from Australia, Mexico and Peru.

Capture Methods

Abalone is harvested by hand in the wild. It is also farmed. All abalone produced in the U.S. is farmed in tanks and barrels. Imported abalone comes from both wild and farmed sources.

Recommended servings per month

Contaminant Men Women Kids 6-12 Kids 0-5
Abalone (farmed) Mercury 4+ 4+ 4+ 4+
Eco details: 
  • Abalone are sessile (growing in one spot) and thus are vulnerable to over exploitation. Populations of at least five abalone species on the U.S. Pacific coast have been depleted.
  • In contrast, farming abalone is relatively environmentally benign.
  • However 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. These sources of abalone are considered an Eco-Worst and should be avoided if possible.