Red abalone is a large edible sea snail that can be legally harvested off the coast of California (assuming you have your paperwork in order). It’s a luxury ingredient in Asian and Latin American cuisines, though farming has made abalone cheaper and more accessible than ever before. A Chowhound user wants to know if there’s anyplace you can buy wild mollusks directly from divers.

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Harvesting is carefully regulated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife; a diver can’t legally sell or barter his or her catch.

The best approach is probably to suit up and learn how to harvest wild abalone yourself. You’ll need to purchase a fishing license and an abalone report card issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. You can also sign up for an abalone diving class offered in the North Bay (Sonoma Coast Divers, for instance, offers a one-day class).

If you want all the harvesting done for you, Glencora reports on Chowhound that Tokyo Fish Market in Berkeley often carries abalone. And you can find the occasional wild abalone feed in the North Bay.

Tokyo Fish Market [East Bay]
1220 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley

Discuss: Buying abalone direct from divers

Photo by Flickr member TyB under Creative Commons

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