While only three abalone divers have died this year in Northern California while attempting one of the most deadly leisurely activities one can partake in, the season is still young. I've been reporting on this dangerous hobby and illegal black market opportunity for years. The deaths range from heart attacks, falls, kelp hold-downs, and more... also known as "Sacramento Syndrome." People make plans and travel from all over and the last thing they want to do is go home empty handed.
There is also an illegal trade where gangs of mostly Vietnamese and Chinese poachers buy, sell and collect the mollusks. Yesterday's New York Times published a very comprehensive account of this ongoing plight. Click here to read the article. The season resumes August 1st.