Posted by Walt on March 16, 2005 at 09:40:40:
In Reply to: That's for sure, but... posted by seahunt on March 16, 2005 at 06:12:00:
>Otters on the other hand are forever and don't believe in preserves. The reefs can recover from humans if humans care. They cannot recover as long as otters are there.
Come on, Seahunt! Otters lived along the California coast long before even Native Americans first set foot here. In 1880 there were about 16,000 otters - compare that to the number of divers! Its insignificant! The reefs and kelp forests were healthy then, so your arguement doesn't hold (sea)water. There's only about 2,800 otters today, all from a breeding stock of about 50 that we didn't merciously kill off. Otters naturally leave a habitat if it is depleted...how many divers have you seen that will take the last rock scallop off a reef? I've seen too many do this and WE are supposed to be the intelligent species. Sure otters don't respect a 'preserve', but a depleted preserve would not attract them in the first place. Plus, what about poachers? - they certainly don't respect preserves or anything else, do they? Again, which species is the more intelligent?
>Look at kelp. Do you see any bite marks? It may get old and break off or a storm may carry it to shore, but it has no bite marks. Essentially, nothing eats it. Look at it. The urchins, abalone and what not eat the leaves off the bottom that break off, but there is very little that can eat kelp. It has very limited value to the reef life and in areas where there is rock reef and no kelp, the biology is very similar to an area without kelp. Kelp does very little for the reef ecology.
Again, come one! Urchins will eat holdfasts if there's not enough debris (and there is never enough debris for a voracious herd of urchins). Plus, I, for one, freely admit to eating kelp (great snack while diving - high in iodine; great sushi wrap)...you do too! Ever eat sherbet or anything else with a binder? (I know you already know this) As for reef ecology, reefs are far less interesting or productive when barren of kelp...you already know this.
Enjoy the diving (WITH otters!...but keep a respectful distance, you know!)
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