A sea urchin dubbed the “cockroach of the ocean” has almost completely destroyed the kelp forests off the coast of Northern California — endangering the regions biodiversity and local economy. And it's all because of climate change.
Early on a gray summer Saturday, an unusual assemblage — commercial fishermen, recreational boaters, neoprene-clad divers — gathered for a mission at Albion Cove, a three-hour drive north of San Francisco.
Too many purple sea urchins and not enough bull kelp continues to stymie California’s red urchin dive industry. Since the one-two punch of El Niño and the warm-water blob in 2016, bull kelp beds have declined by 93 percent from previous years, according to a study by the California Fish and Game Commission.