Diving for snails

Local Webmaster Dustin Boeger has been scuba diving since he was a boy. Now he regularly dives for abalone on the coast whenever he can. I asked him for details.

“The abalone season is convoluted. It starts April through June, is closed in July because of traffic on the coast, and reopens August through November. Of the seven varieties, only red abalone is legal to take. Literally, it’s a snail.

“There are very strict regulations to abalone diving. You need a license, which is good for one year, and limits you to 24 abalone total and only three at a time. You can easily get $100 for one, so there are big fines for poaching.

“It’s almost pure meat; there’s very little fat. Most people hammer slices of them for hours to tenderize. We clean them and put them [dead] in a sack and beat them with a bat until they’re soft. It’s a delicacy.”