Photograph of a small fishing boat on calm waters. A low headland is visible in the distance, and two small figures sit on the back of the boat.

Social and Economic Resilience of California’s North Coast Red Sea Urchin Fishery

Identifying potential strategies to respond to social, cultural, and economic impacts of the red sea urchin fishery and fishing communities due to recent kelp forest collapse

Kelp forests along the Northern California coastline have declined by ~90% due to rapidly changing ocean conditions. During this time, key livelihoods and coastal economies suffered, including the North Coast red sea urchin fishery, which was officially declared a fishery disaster in 2019. There is an immediate need to understand how the fishery and fishing communities were impacted by the fishery’s collapse due to kelp loss and what applicable and effective strategies could enhance the fishery and fishing community’s resilience to future environmental change.

With support from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and in collaboration with UC Santa Cruz, California Sea Urchin Commission, and the Greater Farallones Association, this project will assess the social and economic impacts and responses of fishery participants and communities to collaboratively identify and evaluate potential strategies to improve resilience. This team will engage state and federal resource managers, partners, and fishery participants to ensure project findings and recommendations are practical and implementable by agencies to support the development of a more responsive and resilient framework for kelp loss and associated fishery impacts.

This project began in November 2022 and is expected to be completed by April 2024. Please check back for project updates.

Project Team

Lauren Linsmayer, Ocean Science Trust
Heidi Waite, Ocean Science Trust
Carrie Pomeroy, University of California, Santa Cruz
David Goldenberg, California Sea Urchin Commission
Rietta Hohman, Greater Farallones Association
Gina Contolini, Greater Farallones Association

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