Sea urchins: From pest to plate

ScienceDaily | 8/9/2017 | Staff
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In the ECOURCHIN project (Sea urchin harvest: Ecosystem recovery, integrated management of social-ecological system, ecosystem service and sustainability), economists and natural scientists work together to find strategies for sustainable sea urchin harvest in Norway. In addition to possible economic benefits, sea urchin harvest has positive consequences for the coastal ecosystems. The ECOURCHIN researchers are working on bigger, socioeconomic analysis, where the economic benefits from reestablished kelp forests also are included.

Kelp forest researchers at NIVA have previously estimated the economic value of a healthy kelp forest to 15 million NOK per square kilometer per year. Kelp forests are important habitats for fish, and the populations of cod and pollock will benefit from the reestablishment of kelp forests. Several NIVA-reports describe the challenge of sea urchins feeding on kelp forests, and sustainable harvest of these pests would be a win-win.

Reestablishment - Kelp - Forests - Biodiversity - Ecosystem

"Reestablishment of kelp forests and an increased biodiversity are some of the ecosystem effects of sea urchin harvest. These are factors we include in the calculations," Wenting Chen, project manager and research acientist with the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), says.

There are billions of sea urchins along Norway´s coastline, and catching sea urchin is doing the marine ecosystems a favor. But as a viable industry, the amounts of milt -- or gonads -- collected have to be worth the effort of harvesting sea urchins and extracting the gonads.

Drøbak - Sea - Urchin - Sea - Norway

The green Drøbak sea urchin is the most common sea urchin in Norway. It is popular in Japan, but the harvest is not profitable since the amounts of milt per sea urchin are too small. Milt extraction is costly, and high yields are a key factor for an economically sustainable sea urchin...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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