The county Board of Supervisors has awarded a Caltech diving club a $2,000 grant to plant about 2,000 baby abalone on rocks along Santa Catalina Island and the Palos Verdes Peninsula over the next two years.
Restoration of the prized mollusk by the Caltech Kelpers Dive Club, in cooperation with county and state game officials, is an effort to counteract the overfishing and pollution in the 1960s that caused the abalone to become nearly extinct in that area. Considered a culinary delicacy, abalone retail for about $30 a pound.
Diving club volunteers will plant the fragile baby mollusks in special containers designed to reduce shock and death, county Fish and Game Commission officials said.
Abalone hunting is illegal on a stretch of coastline from Dana Point to the Palos Verdes Peninsula under a seven-year moratorium, but state game officals say poachers continue to catch the creatures at low tide.