The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Catherine Kilduff, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 644-8580

Settlement Will Secure Habitat for Black Abalone Endangered by Climate Change


court-ordered settlement filed yesterday requires the federal government
protect habitat for the endangered black abalone. The agreement results
from a
lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the
Marine Fisheries Service's failure to designate critical habitat for the
shellfish, which, once common in Southern California
tide pools, has declined by 99 percent since the 1970s.

abalone is on the cusp of extinction and could be California's first
marine species lost
to global warming," said Catherine Kilduff, a staff attorney at the
Center. "Habitat protections can provide a basis for recovery of the
black abalone, which is a crucial constituent of California's kelp bed

January 14, 2009, in response to a Center petition, black abalone was
listed as
an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. With that
federal agencies by law must protect the abalone's critical habitat.
According to the federal government's own data, species with critical
habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act are twice as likely
to be
recovering as those without.

loss of black abalone along the California
coast is a warning: Our oceans are in trouble," said Kilduff.
"Habitat protections are needed to improve the black abalone's
chances for surviving the threats of global warming and ocean

fishing for black abalone is banned in the state, overfishing initially
depleted the population, and poaching continues to hinder recovery. Now
warming is exacerbating the outbreak and spread of a disease called
syndrome that has caused black abalone virtually to disappear from the
California mainland and many areas of the Channel Islands.
Additionally, ocean acidification poses an increasing threat to the
abalone's growth and reproduction.

has emphasized the importance of critical habitat under the Endangered
Act by stating that "the ultimate effectiveness of the Endangered
Act will depend on the designation of critical habitat." The National
Marine Fisheries Service must propose critical habitat for black abalone
September 20, 2010.

More information on the black abalone is available at

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

(520) 623-5252