The Fish and Game Commission unanimously granted permission to cull urchins at Tanker's Reef in Monterey. Caspar Cove was given 3 more years. Yay!
Much thanks to everyone that spoke at the Dec. 9 meeting in support of Petition 2020-001! In order of appearance:
Marc Shargel, Genevieve Rohe, Melanie Moreno, Dannie, Alan Throop, Sabrina Wong, Wendy King, Lauren McKenzie, Tony Lin, Faye Lin, Dan Abbott, Josh Maxwell, Tom Baker, Tom Shields, Rose Zhang, Jennifer Caselle, William Chinnock, Nancy Caruso, Geoff Shester, Robert Halem, and Karen Grimmer.
Congratulations to all! We did it!
Culling cannot begin for a few months. We are anticipating a April, 2021 start date. Details will be available here when they are finalized.
The BAD news: The Commission did not approve restoration within any Marine Protected Areas, where kelp forests are being rapidly consumed by the exploding urchin population.
Sea urchins have already eaten much of the Kelp Forest of Monterey Peninsula and beyond. Why are there so many urchins? Sea stars are major predators of urchins. Beginning in 2013, Sea Star Wasting Disease caused a massive die-off of sea stars on the west coast. From 2014-16, an exceptionally warm water blob hugged the west coast, inhibiting kelp growth. Purple urchin populations exploded to up to five hundred times their normal numbers. They quickly ate all of their normal diet of seaweed scraps, and began to attack living kelp.
This beautifully crafted, 12 minute video was generously created by Coriolis Films for the Giant Giant Kelp Restoration Project. It explains the root causes of the Monterey Bay sea urchin explosion and what our project is doing to remove urchins and restore kelp forests.
Watch for a feature-length documentary on the plight of kelp forests by Coriolis Films in the coming months.
Please help get the Urchin culling & Kelp restoration Petition passed.
Petition summary: Allows recreational divers with CA fishing licenses to collect 40 gallons of urchins each day from
Lovers Cove State Marine Reserve and Tanker’s Reef in Monterey. The goal is to reduce urchin populations to their normal, sustainable level so that kelp forests can re-grow. Learn more about Petition 2020-001 >
New video now trending on social media
Help Save Kelp - New!
Underwater photographer and author Marc Shargel explains why keeping kelp forests healthy is important for Monterey's economy and environment. April 2020
By Keith Rootsaert for the Monterey Shootout 2019
Deep Discussion: Monterey Urchin Crisis with Keith Rootsaert - New! Presented on June 1, 2020 for Blue Endeavors, this 1:24 min. webinar includes details on the politics involved in getting Petition 2020 passed by the California Fish and Game Commission.