Sea urchins love to eat kelp. Kelp loves to sequester carbon. Now sea urchin farmers are removing hungry urchins from kelp fields in California, raising them in captivity to fulfill the world’s hunger for sushi, and saving the kelp to do its important work to help the climate.
Last week, scientists from the Nature Conservancy stood on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean near Mendocino, California, watching a drone fly over the water as it mapped the disappearing kelp forests along the coast. Kelp—a type of seaweed that can help fight climate change by sequestering carbon and is critical to marine ecosystems—is dying in part because of an explosion of purple urchins in the area