SANTA CRUZ (AP) — California wildlife officials are recommending that the 2018 abalone fishing season be canceled due to concerns about declining population.

The Mercury News reports Wednesday the California Department of Fish and Wildlife made the recommendation after a survey revealed 37 percent of all abalone recorded were dead.

Fish and Game Commission will make the final decision Thursday at a meeting in San Diego.

Fish and Wildlife senior scientist Laura Roger-Bennett says shells empty or filled with decaying flesh littered the seafloor and that the outlook for the abalone is bleak.

The mollusks are being affected by a massive kelp die-off. Red abalone feed on kelp and cannot reproduce as easily when facing starvation.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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