I just wrote about potting a large male lobster and then on finding it tagged, returned it back to the sea, and now I feel better about doing so after reading recent research from the University of Tasmania – It’s new research paper shows that the removal of large lobsters from the environment has reduced the ability of kelp beds to respond to the onslaught of the long spined sea urchin (Centrastefanus rogersi) in Tasmanian waters.
By conducting experiments inside and outside Marine Protected Areas they are proving that fishing, by removing large predatory lobsters, has reduced the resilience of kelp beds against the climate-driven threat of the sea urchin and increased risk of catastrophic shift to widespread sea urchin barrens. Urchin barrens are areas where sea urchins have destroyed kelp by overgrazing.
Researchers are tracking the activity by creating ‘Lobster Warriors’. They have glued acoustic transmitters to the lobsters.
For more information on how this is working, look up the full interview on the ABC website with this link: http://www.abc.gov.au/catalyst/stories/2695634.htmwith Professor Craig Johnston and Dr Scott Ling.
The sea urchin is a delicacy in many countries so maybe a partnership could be formed with divers and the DPI, Parks, Water and Environment. The photo here is one I took down at the boat ramp at Binalong Bay. It was alive and very menacing. I did not have the nerve to pick it up, take it home and eat it. But next time if I see one straying there I definitely will. If it is good enough for the Japanese I am sure it will do for me, and I will be helping to eradicate them, one by one. Maybe acquiring a Diving Licence would be more proactive. Roz