Climate Action: Urchinomics
Protecting and restoring the world’s kelp forests, one sea urchin at a time.
Overfishing and environmental changes have caused a decline in the number of species that prey on sea urchins. The resulting explosion in the population of urchins has led to the destruction of the kelp forests upon which they feed, which are a valuable carbon sink. Urchinomics is helping to protect these valuable habitats and carbon stores by removing the urchins to be farmed and then sold as a high-quality delicacy.
Normal practice is for fishermen to harvest the best specimens from the forest for sale into high-end restaurants and sushi bars. However, not many of the urchins make the grade, meaning most are left in place to continue degrading the forests and those that are removed by divers are simply discarded.
Having identified suitable forests, Urchinomics enters into partnerships with local fishermen who systematically remove the urchin population from the forests and relocate them into specially designed holding systems.
Once on the ‘ranch’, the urchins are latched into sea cages and fed Urchinomics’ all-natural feed to help them grow to the required size, before being harvested and sold into the sea food market. In the meantime, the urchin-free kelp forests can get on with the process of growing ever bigger, and absorbing even more carbon.
Urchinomics has proven itself in the field and is now expanding with trials in a number of countries. Here is a business model that delivers truly sustainable growth – enhancing natural systems, driving local economic growth and giving consumers healthy, natural food at more affordable prices. Letting nature cool is starting to look not just like good environmental sense, but good business sense too.