Its a new era for the park. Abalone season is closed for 2018, maybe forever.
This summer, we saw areas in the Albion Cove seafloor with nothing left but barnacles and purple urchins. Moonscape. There are still good patches of healthy kelp and fat abalone, a hopeful seedbank for recovery, but urchin barrens in other parts of the world have lasted for decades. I didn't know a person could cry underwater. Tears blending into ocean salt inside my mask
The crashing abalone population is an indicator of many changes in the ocean overall- warmer water temps, loss of kelp forests, diseases, overfishing, the balance of other predators. I admire the tough dedicated folks who have come here every year to dive, for decades. Abalone have been the centerpiece for ocean adventure, for family gatherings, and gourmet meals around a campfire. I think we all still need something to hunt. Adventure. Food. A worthy opponent to test your skills against. Like the Pacific Ocean, in all her fierce majesty
How can we keep the Schooners divers in the water?
I imagine shifting our focus to fighting FOR the ocean. Making Schooners a center for ecologic study and action. Sponsor intensive harvest of the invasive purple urchins, to see if we can get the kelp back. Dive to track the lost (and returning) sea stars. Eat more seaweed. I have no idea what else, but am making new connections at Noyo Harbor, and F&G. We have a park, a river bank being set free to become healthy habitat again, the mysterious river with a will of its own, and each us with our skills, passions and determination. At your service, river, ocean, forest, where will this take us?
Input, ideas, and help welcome. Please become a part of the answer
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