If you mow the lawn too thin, the grass will struggle to grow back.
That is what is happening to the ocean’s kelp forests…and the ‘lawnmowers’ are sea urchins.
Vast underwater areas are barren – in some parts of the world 95% of the kelp forests have been lost.
This is something Brian Tsuyoshi Tekeda, Founder of Urchinomics, knows all too well. Brian and his team are restoring kelp forest, by harvesting the sea urchins that are causing the problem.
“Climate change and overfishing of predatory species like crabs and cod from the world’s oceans has unleashed a population explosion of sea urchins. These spiny invertebrates have decimated kelp forests across the world,” Brian says.
Urchins eat the kelp, the kelp disappears, and so do the animals that depend on it.
Brian explains, “Kelp is vital to our planet. These underwater forest store huge amounts of CO2 and provide masses of oxygen.”
We need to stop the decimation of the kelp forests and give them the chance to restore.
Kelp has an amazing ability to regrow very quickly, some can grow as much as 18in/45cm per day!
Driven by science, Brian and his team create urchin farms that remove the right amount of urchins for kelp forests to regrow.
“We engage fishers, ecologists, and scientists to identify and remove empty, unproductive urchins that hinder kelp forests from recovering. Once urchins are removed, nature takes over and kelp begins to grow,” Brian says.
The urchins that Urchinomics removes are then harvested for their roe, which is a delicacy in many parts of the world. Selling the roe helps to fund the restoration of the kelp forests, it’s win, win!
Restoring kelp forests will create healthier coastal waters and better oceans for us all. For Brian and restaurants, it also means a sustainable source of food, rich in nutrients.
They increase the number of species living in an area of the ocean and give fish and other animals a place to breed safely.
Brian and the Urchinomics team are proving that a healthy planet can be good business. Environmental solutions can be profitable and tasty.
We can all do our part to protect and restore the ocean we need – see how you can take action today.
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