Eat the Problem... Environmental Impacts of Sea Urchin

Fri 05 Aug
Eat the Problem... Environmental Impacts of Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin are delicious, and a delicacy worldwide. But did you know that these strange looking, spiney organisms also wreak havoc on marine ecosystems along Australia's east coast? 

Many businesses and organisations, such as Sea Urchin Harvest and OceanWatch Australia, are working hard to mitigate their impact.  

But how can the everyday Aussie help?  

...Eat them of course! 


Populations of Sea Urchin have exploded in recent years, assisted by the rapid warming of the oceans around Australia's coastline. Unfortunately, this is not good news for our marine ecosystems. Urchin eat their way through the kelp forests on the ocean floor, which provide food and habitat for other marine life, as well as capture and store carbon dioxide (an extremely important role in our fight against climate change). Desolate and barren stretches of sea floor are left in the Sea Urchins' wake. 

The development of commercially viable Sea Urchin fisheries is therefore invaluable in the restoration of the kelp forest and fish habitat around Australia's coastline, especially as global warming worsens. 

OceanWatch recently activated a program in collaboration with the NSW Abalone Association to manage urchin numbers and enhance the reef where barrens have formed. Divers from the Abalone and Sea Urchin and Turban Shell fisheries have been working hard to reduce the density of urchins at four urchin barrens (covering 8 hectares) along the NSW coast until. This project's goal was not only to enhance seaweed habitats, thereby improving biodiversity, but also to improve the quality of the remaining urchin roe, and increase the abundance of quality Abalone. 

Wild sea urchin harvesting is the lowest impact fishery in Australia, with absolutely no bycatch. By getting some urchin on your fork, you can be completely confident that you are supporting a sustainable fishery, improving Australia's marine biodiversity, and fighting against the impacts of climate change. 

Plus, it's delicious! 


Want to eat urchin, but don't know where to start? Check out our Top 5 Ways to Eat Urchin, or book yourself into Sydney Seafood School's upcoming Urchin Uncovered cooking class!