Pinto Abalone Virtual Counting Project

Thank you for taking part in the Pinto Abalone Virtual Counting Project.

  • Click on one of the links below. Each link leads to a specific abalone tank, with instructions for counting.
  • A link to photos of the abalone in that tank is included in the instructions for that tank
  • And, some top tips for counting!

Abalone Tank 1

Abalone Tank 2

Abalone Tank 3

If you have questions, please email Meghan, AmeriCorps Community Science AmeriCorps member, at

The Pinto Abalone story

Pinto abalone are herbivorous marine snails. Since time immemorial, indigenous tribes sustainably hunted abalone for their beautiful shells and delicious meat. Unfortunately, even though there was never a commercial fishery, overharvesting led to a severe decline in pinto abalone populations and they are now listed as endangered, and considered functionally extinct in Washington state.

Pinto abalone are broadcast spawners - they send their gametes (sperm and egg cells) directly into the water. A big challenge abalone face is having their gametes meet for successful fertilization. That is why the Puget Sound Restoration Fund collects adult abalone and breeds them at their facility. Young abalone are sent to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, where we raise them until they're big enough to release into the wild!

Raising healthy and happy pinto abalone is a big job. But lucky for us, there are folks like you! We get our abalone when they are really young, so some mortality is natural. To make sure there aren't any larger issues, we monitor our abalone through population counts...counts that you can do from the comfort of your home!