Save the Kelp: Eat A Sea Urchin

The harvested purple urchins are trucked from the coast to an inland disposal site

There are logistics involved; enough divers, boats, truck. It happens in a day or two…

The funding is limited.

I live here/there. I encourage those who have become vaccinated to come to Mendocino County and harvest and eat purple sea urchins.

My understanding is that they can be tasty but they often aren’t tasty. If you don’t collect them at the right moment of spawning season you’re going to end up collecting a bunch of mostly-empty urchins.

Presumably this also applies to red urchins as well, except a) commercial urchin fishermen know exactly when they need to go out to collect urchins that are full of uni; b) the larger size of each red urchin means that it’s still cost-effective to harvest and process the red ones at peak times - even if you wound up with a bunch of empty throwaways you’d still have enough good ones to make it worth the time and effort. Fishermen tried the same thing with the purples years ago but couldn’t make the numbers pencil out.

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Fuel oil?
I can tell you’re an east coast guy.
We burn manly wood out here in the manly west!
Cut by manly chain saw guys with cutting permits.,

Lots of people in rural areas and a growing number of commercial places (mechanics, welding shops) burn used cooking oil, used lube oil, ATF, etc. for heat. Unless there is prohibitive regulation I’d be surprised if that isn’t the case on the West Coast as well as the rest of the country.

Just checked. Illegal in California (where they prefer to ship their pollutants to other states <- frustrated but non-political observation). Definitely a thing

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I disagree with your post. Where are you, experience in the industry?

Which part do you disagree with?

The Vivian Ho Guardian piece linked above specifically notes that she ended up with a very small amount of uni for two hours of processing work on the purples - and that’s from urchins that were foraged for her by an experienced collector.

I disagree with everything. I live here, I have been there done that.

I have worked as a volunteer and donated money.

Who are you?

This hostility is pretty weird, guy.

You disagree that purple urchins can be tasty? OK, how do you explain Vivian Ho and numerous other writers saying they have tried purple urchin uni that was delicious? How did the 1990s purple urchin export business get off the ground at all?

You disagree that they purple urchins are often not tasty? Ok, then why did you yourself just announce that you find them bitter?

You disagree that red urchins are sometimes not tasty also? Ok, that seems pretty counterintuitive since there are literally scientific papers describing the flavor variation of other urchin species by season and sex.

You disagree that processing purple urchins is a lot more work than processing red urchins? OK, then why has virtually every account of dealing with them described what a pain in the ass they can be compared to their bigger cousins?

You disagree that a California commercial purple urchin fishery is financially unviable? OK, then why did fishermen stop fishing for them after a handful of years of trying in the 1990s?

Because I live here and have eaten purple urchins.

Big Wheel, the purple urchin has affected the Mendocino Coast. There seems to be little financial motivation in harvesting the purple urchin. Instead, there is a large cost, to the local area, to harvest and dispose of the purple urchin.

I would like the Mendocino Coast be, what it was 30 years ago.

Things have changed. I do not want purple urchins.

Buddy, I agree with literally every claim in this post. I agree that purple urchins are having serious negative effects on the local ecosystem, I agree that a commercial purple urchin fishery doesn’t currently make economic sense, I agree that there should be measures to restore the former ecological balance of the kelp forest, and I agree that purple urchins are often, though not always, undesirable for restaurant and home tables.

So I have no idea why you think I ever said anything that you don’t, in fact, agree with.

“my I disagree” post was not directed to you or something you posted.

We seem to agree.


“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold