Kelp forests are in danger of disappearing with purple sea urchins gobbling up kelp at unprecedented rates. Due to a 10,000-fold increase in population levels, purple urchins are killing off the very food source that they rely on. In the face of surmounting pressures, one company is out to turn the tide on urchin barrens by collecting, fattening-up, and selling the echinoderms.
Calling themselves a ‘restorative aquaculture venture’ the Urchinomics website states that “removing overgrazing sea urchins helps turn a barren seafloor back into a vibrant kelp forest,” By utilizing commercial and volunteer divers to collect urchins, they “are then ranched and sold as premium seafood to restaurants globally”. Since its inception in 2015, the company has run trials in Japan, Norway, Australia, Canada and the US.
The goal at Urchinomics is two-fold; remove urchins that are over-grazing on kelp and provide an economic incentive that makes sure there is plenty of continuous fishing pressure on these urchins.
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Tags: Global Aquaculture