Fri12152017

Last updateTue, 18 Apr 2017 8am

Ever seen a kina barren?

kinaSo you think that the bare rock and dozens of sea urchins you see when snorkelling in the Bay of Islands are natural? 

Think again. These zones of devastation are known as kina barrens. Kina barrens are common on the North East coast of New Zealand and were thought natural until only a few years ago. The photos below illustrate the story.

Kina barrens arise when the food chain has been unbalanced by humans fishing out too many large predators (the big snapper and crayfish) leaving only smaller predators whose mouths are too small to feed on kina. So the kina population explodes. They munch through the kelp forests, which are the nurseries of the sea leaving no safe places to breed or for juveniles to hide.

And so the cycle goes...until only kina and bare rock remain, with barely a fish in sight. The good news is that if areas are left alone, the bigger predators return and the kelp forests grow again, encouraging a healthy marine ecosystem.

 

big-snapper-eat-kina1

 

big_snapper_eat_kina1a_1

 

big_snapper_eat_kina2

 

big_snapper_eat_kina2a_1

 

roger-grace"We had no reason to believe that Kina Barrens, widespread throughout Northern NZ were anything but a natural occurence.
We now know they are an artifact of overfishing. Kina Barrens have all but disappeared at Goat Island and Tawharanui Marine Reserves... "
Dr Roger Grace - Marine Scientist  PhD, QSM

Click here to watch a two-part video presentation by Roger Grace to watch a two-part video presentation by Roger Grace that explains the science behind Fish Forever's campaign.

 

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