A diver was found dead after searching for abalone off the coast of Northern California, becoming at least the ninth person to perish this year while seeking the delicacy.

Authorities said the body of 58-year-old Eric Stine was discovered Sunday in the surf in Manchester State Beach, 140 miles north of San Francisco.

A diving friend had reported Stine, of Vallejo, California, went missing Saturday.

Earlier last week, a 56-year-old San Francisco man also died while diving for abalone off the Mendocino coast.

Chief Deputy Coroner Shannon Barney said the cause of death is pending in both cases.

Six divers have died in Mendocino County alone this season, which started April 1 and ends Monday.