Originally Posted by A Y
Sea urchin is a major SoCal export, too, no?
in terms of dollars, yes, it has been. that seems to be changing now, thanks to the reintroduction of sea otters to the central coast. it's actually a really interesting ecological story ... sea urchins (and for that matter, abalone) had gone crazy on the coast because the russian fur traders had killed off their main natural predator, the sea otter (abalone found another, equally voracious, in the 1970s as people discovered how delicious they are). sea urchins started booming in the 1980s, mainly for export to Japan, where they were second only to Hokkaido urchins in the tsukiji auctions. now the otter population and range is expanding and the urchins are in trouble. but as a result, the kelp forests, which are vital to other fisheries, are coming back. quite the little balancing act our coastline is.