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Watermens Alliance Fish Bait contest & Urchin removal September 7th & 8th

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Watermens Alliance Fish Bait contest & Urchin removal Sep 7th & 8th Meet at Subsurface Progression in Fort Bragg at 8am for briefing of the event details and agenda then we will head to the dive site, Look for Josh Russo 

There has been a lot of questions about the new format of the urchin removals so I want to take the time to answer as many questions as I can and announce what to expect going forward. This is going to be a long post so I'll start with a recap, then the explanation.

Is it legal?

You are allowed to use animals taken with your recreational license as "bait" provided it is legal to use bait. This is why you can use your ling carcasses in your crab traps or put a hook in a blue rockfish you caught to hopefully catch a big ling cod. Your daily limits still apply. You don't have to kill the fish you bait in. Photographers can crack urchin open to attract fish for picture. Why you're baiting the fish in is your business. The key word is "bait".

Why the change?

Planning these large removal events has been a challenge from the start and each event brought new challenges making it harder and harder. Properties that would welcome us are too far from the dive site for a shore dive and the easy access spots are mostly state parks that would require an expensive permit and commitments from other agencies that I just can't ask of them. By removing the need to haul them out and dispose of the urchin I can identify the removal area and divers can make their own dates to come up and dive when it's convenient for them.

Will this induce spawning?

No. There is no scientific evidence that this would cause a large scale spawning event. Dr. Ford has been crushing purple urchin in Southern California for 20 years with no evidence of a single spawning event.

What happened?

Basically, our last best hope for funding the commercial effort came up empty. That forces this to become a long term project and the large events are just not capable of lasting. We have come up with more possibilities for funding but they're just as likely to succeed or fail as the rest.

What now?

I'm going to mark an area at Van Damme for divers to focus their efforts. This will be four crab pot markers creating a square about 100 feet on each side. Instead of organizing large events, divers will be able to go anytime and focus their efforts in this area. Once urchin densities in this area are low enough I'll move two of the markers to designate the next area to focus on and we will continue to work around the cove in this way. It's important that divers post on the Urchin Removal Facebook page specifically,

-Before you go let others know you're going so they can join you.

-After your dive post number of divers, number of hours, where you worked and what you saw in the work area.

this is more than just an effort to remove the urchin and this information will help us document how much effort, how long it takes to clear an area and it keeps others energized

from Josh Russo

I’ve placed buoys at Van Damme to define the area we want to focus our “baiting” efforts. It’s important that we are using the urchin as bait and it is important to focus our efforts on a specific location. 40 people in 40 locations isn’t going to be nearly as effective as 40 people at one location. I’m hoping we run out of bait in this location on Saturday so I’ll have to relocate two of the markers for Sunday. I would like to keep track of how many man hours it takes to utilize all the urchin as bait in an area and also how often we need to move the buoys. These buoys will be there until I’m done with them for my monitoring program so please dive here as often as possible and let me know the man hours invested by posting how many people were in your group and what days they dove. Feel free to also use this page to invite others to dive with you as well.

Thank you all involved in this enormous endeavor!

Any report from this event ? or pictures ? I wanted to go but had septic tank issues that prevented me from going

Sh*t happens ?


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