Curtis John Degler 
Member since Mar 13, 2018


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Re: “'Perfect Storm' Has North Coast Marine Ecosystem Reeling, Abalone in Crisis

The biggest urchin predator of recent decades was man. Professional California urchin divers starting in the late 70s pretty much removed most all of the Asian-favored red urchins from the coast. But starting a few years ago they were mostly driven from the market by cheaper urchin roe originating in Asia where wages and the cost of living are much lower. They could no longer compete. The urchin population exploded and we ended up with bio-barrens on the North Coast like the ones I remember seeing at places like Horseshoe Cove in Sonoma in 1978. True - there were other reasons(red-tide, starfish die off, wasting disease) but global economics was a major contributor. For some reason the red urchins have now been largely replaced, mainly in the shallows, by the smaller and economically worthless blue urchins leaving not only the red abalone to starve but severely reducing the in-shore biodiversity as there is hardly any invertebrate turf left or giant or bull kelp for that matter. It was a paradise. Now its hell. Before man, the major predator of urchins was the California Sea Otter. Time maybe to bring them back. Or else make it open season on all urchins with no bag limit to give the divers something useful to do and help the abalone return.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Curtis John Degler on 03/13/2018 at 5:59 AM

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