This article seems to be mostly northern Calif & possibly other northern
states; not so much Central Coast or Santa Barbara Channel.
I haven’t heard anything about our local kelp forests crashing in the last few
years, but perhaps somebody else will have some info.
to offer. I have heard the sea star wasting disease may be easing up, and
some species are recovering?
We have learned that kelp forests can bounce back quite rapidly. This article
quotes some international examples that did not come back;
perhaps due to local pollution or activities of people? See link to article
WHILE THIS BULL KELP thrives inside of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Kelp Forest
Exhibit, the bull kelp on the Sonoma County coast has been reduced by about 93%
due to a combination of environmental stress factors.
The crash of the kelp forest
By Heather Bailey and Katherine Minkiewicz, Sonoma West Publishers Aug 14, 2019
Updated Aug 14, 2019
The CDFW has found that the purple urchin population is currently 60 times
higher than normal, and that in the past five years California’s kelp forests
have declined by 93%. The “urchin barrens” have left behind a rash of dead and
starving red abalone, once a prized commercial and recreational catch. As the
abalone population plummeted, the fishery for abalone was closed through 2021,
though some fear the closure may be permanent.
However, studies abroad show that these efforts may be the equivalent of
putting a finger in a dyke.
Tasmania lost most of their kelp in the early 2000s and studies there have
shown that on extensively barren grounds, even significantly knocking back the
urchin population (by introducing a species of lobster that is their main
predator there) doesn’t mean a return of the kelp.
Similarly, an urchin barren in Hokkaido, Japan, is still bare after almost 80