Action: Cease or prohibit the harvest of sea urchins
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- We found no studies that evaluated the effects ceasing or prohibiting the harvest of sea urchins on their populations.
‘We found no studies’ means that we have not yet found any studies that have directly evaluated this intervention during our systematic journal and report searches. Therefore, we have no evidence to indicate whether or not the intervention has any desirable or harmful effects.
Sea urchins can represent key species within a marine system, with other species crucially depending on their presence to thrive (Coyer et al. 1993). Commercial, but also recreational, harvest of edible sea urchins has led to significant changes, with for instance species of protected abalones suffering as a ripple effect (Rogers-Bennett & Pearse 2001). Bylaws, legislation, or voluntary agreements could be established which prohibit the harvest of sea urchins in an area, in theory allowing their population to recover, and as a consequence the wider subtidal benthic invertebrate communities which depend on them (Rogers-Bennett & Pearse 2001).
When this intervention occurs in a marine protected area, the evidence is summarised under “Habitat protection – Designate a Marine Protected Area and prohibit harvest of sea urchins”.
Rogers‐Bennett L. & Pearse J.S. (2001) Indirect benefits of marine protected areas for juvenile abalone. Conservation Biology, 15, 642–647.
Coyer J.A., Ambrose R.F., Engle J.M. & Carroll J.C. (1993) Interactions between corals and algae on a temperate zone rocky reef: mediation by sea urchins. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 167, 21–37.