Kelp Reforestation: Why we all need to kelp out

Kelp Reforestation: Why we all need to kelp out

Here at 12 Tides, our mission is to create a better relationship between people and the ocean with tasty, regenerative food. How do we do that? We live our values through our three pillars: regenerative ocean farming, ocean restoration, and sustainable packaging.  

Over the course of our journey, we want to share with you all what exactly these pillars entail. Driven by climate change, we encourage you all to be not just sustainable people, but informed and knowledgeable consumers. Accountability and transparency are both important to us as a small business. 

Today’s blog post is focused on our second pillar - ocean restoration - which highlights kelp, the core ingredient of our snack. 

The problem: #HELPTHEKELP 

Did you know that the Western coast of North America is home to one of the largest kelp forests in the world? Unfortunately, 80% of kelp forest biomass has decreased in past decades due to the one and only kelp enemy: the purple urchin. 

Source: Pixabay

Although they are a natural part of kelp ecosystems, human induced pollution and overfishing of purple urchin predators - such as sheepshead fish and abalone - has led to food chain imbalances, causing a boom in purple urchin populations. Without predators, these monsters consume kelp at an incredible rate, creating urchin barrens. Instead of thriving kelp forests, purple urchins overpopulate and wipe out the kelp.


 

Why this is important

Kelp is a critical part of our ecosystem. “The California coast without kelp is like the Amazon without trees,” says Tom Ford, executive director of The Bay Foundation, a nonprofit focused on the restoration and protection of the Santa Monica Bay and its coastal waters (more on this awesome organization below!).

For both humans and marine creatures, kelp is an important source of life. Kelp absorbs and stores a large amount of carbon - 20x as much as the rainforest - while also providing a number of ecosystem benefits and services. Over 800 marine species - including sea otters and gray whales - depend on kelp forest for mating grounds, shelter, and food. From an ecological perspective, kelp also improves water quality, fixes nutrient balances, provides coastline and ecosystem protection, and mitigates local acidification forests. Finally, in California, kelp forests play a key role for all our surfer friends out there. The kelp shapes waves by absorbing some of their energy, which helps produce better surfing conditions. 



What we’re doing about the kelp

Through being a member of 1% for the Planet, we donate proceeds to two organizations focused on kelp restoration: SeaTrees and The Bay Foundation. SeaTrees is a non-profit that connects brands, people, social entrepreneurs, and scientists to raise awareness about ocean health and regenerative ecosystems. We provide funding and drive awareness about kelp restoration with SeaTrees, who in turn works with The Bay Foundation to sponsor urchin removal projects and monitor results. As of April 2020, The Bay Foundation had successfully restored 55 acres of kelp in California. Woohoo!

It Was A No-Eyed, Many-Spined, Grazing, Purple, Kelp-Eater


How YOU can help  

  1. When buying gifts for friends and family, think about gifting intentionally. SeaTrees has a unique program where you can give ocean positive gifts. Our favorite? Restoring kelp of course! For as little as $15, you can pay to restore 10 square feet of kelp. 

  1. Send your friends and family the gift of 12 Tides snacks! Check out our variety pack where you can trust our kelp chips to be as nutritious as they are delicious. Smiles on everyone’s face this year.

Together, we can turn the tides on climate change, one kelp chip at a time. Thank you all for being part of our journey and we’ll see you all in 2021!



Sources: 

About the Author: Mandi Sit is a community builder, sustainability enthusiast, and adventure seeker. With a deep commitment to the natural world, she especially loves the oceans because the water brings a sense of serenity. Through marketing and project management, she strives to help brands with a mission to do better for our planet.