December 19, 1964
SHELLED ABALONE Fish and Game Wardens Russell Goodrich, left, and Alvin Stewart display a few of the 281 abalone which had been removed from the shell and brought into Morro Bay aboard the commercial abalone boat Lancia. (Jack Wilson photo.)
This is a story we don’t see today. There are illegal clam busts from time to time at Pismo Beach but since the otters returned, abalone are hard to find in this quantity.
The wardens had been observing the operation since August and when they moved in one of the suspects said, “There goes my Christmas.”
The value of the 281 abalone was estimated at $180 in 1964 dollars. That works out to about $1.50 per shellfish.
Today a gift pack of  tenderized abalone steaks with 4 shells and recipes is $115.
Click on the front page and check out the lead story; someone thought building a new Panama Canal was a good idea. Guess they didn’t have enough to work on with a war in Viet Nam, war on poverty, civil rights unrest and the Cold War with the communists.
UPDATE: While researching another post this second front page article turned up from August 16, 1963. It describes a mound of abalone shells between 4 and 10 feet high for nearly a mile along Cayucos Creek.
More than two million pounds of abalone were taken in 1962 by the commercial fishing industry.
The headline says “Abalone Hunters Must Take Some Blame for Depletion”.
No explanation in the article how sea otters dragged the shells so far inland.
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