What is the Job of an Abalone Fisherman?

Abalone fish is a mollusk (shellfish). Usually, it lives on the rocky reefs on the shore up to 30 meters. So, Abalone fishermen collect these fish using a chisel-like iron bar to separate them from the rocks. But divers have to stay underwater for hours using hookah gears. Poaching is a hassle that involves the surface on an everyday foundation through high-profile busts. Therefore, abalone fisheries are one of the most valuable commercial fisheries in the world.

The history of Abalone Fishermen

Abalone is a snail-like, edible, single-shell gastropod (mollusk). They are found across the globe, mostly in coastal waters. But Red Abalone is the biggest and the most prized one. What’s more, the west coast of North America is rich with this breed. Being an iconic species of California, Red Abalone is a part of fishing heritage. A full-size Red Abalone can reward $100 or more to its catcher.  

Abalone Fishermen remove the meat from its shell. The fishermen bag it up, tenderize it, then boil and dry the meat. This process can take up to six weeks. In the early 1870s, one pound of abalone meat cost around five cents in the San Francisco retail market. It remained a delicacy almost entirely for the Abalone Fisherman palate until the early 1920s.

The first person to fish for abalone around the Channel Islands had been from the San Diego location, which turned into the middle of the California abalone fishery during this period. Eventually, fishing camps developed on most of the Channel Islands. By modern standards, Abalone become relatively considerable within the Abalone Fisherman.

Responsibilities of an Abalone Fisherman

Abalone fishery is a physically demanding and dangerous job. Here are the practices an abalone fisher must follow:

  • Possess a suitable measuring device. 
  • Must fetch the abalone above the prescribed high-water mark before removing the meat.

Abalone Fisherman divers use small trailer size vessels to use as a platform for harvesting.

On the Job

  • Must Carry a properly working breathing cylinder.
  • A skipper with dive qualifications can operate abalone boats. The fisherman is a Master of the vessel carrying out all fishing operations. 
  • General deck duties with other dive operations.

Education and Training

Skippers’ qualification requirements vary depending on the vessel length.

  • Coxswain 2 degree.
  • Master 4 certificate.
  • Workplace 2 First Aid certificate along with dive operations.
  • Fishermen must possess an Open Water Dive Certification.


Fishing License (personal)

Fishing License (gifted by Abalone)


An average Abalone Fisherman makes $28,952 per year. This equates to around $2412 per month, showing this job is demanding but rewarding at the same time. For an individual filer, an estimated average federal tax is 12%. So, an Abalone Fisherman can expect to bring a cheque of $25,668, equaling $1070 per month. What’s more, Abalone Fishermen own or lease diving quota for Green/Blacklip Abalone. However, a diver’s leasing quota is according to catch price per kg.

Final words

In addition to Abalone hunting, Abalone divers make up the bulk of rescuers, thanks to their competent degree and devoted lifestyle. Also, it is a challenging and demanding job. But of course, most Abalone divers do not see their job as a risk but as a hobby. It is a practice that is not feared but celebrated. If the opportunity ever presented itself, and you have an interest in this kind of unique job, it is absolutely worth seeing it through.

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