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The Irony — Undaria pinnatifida eradication

OK, this maddening little bit came to my inbox. Sounds dire, right?

Volunteers needed to help stop the spread of invasive kelp

The Asian kelp Undaria pinnatifida is an opportunistic, fast-growing invasive kelp that is spreading north along the coast of California. Uncontrolled, it can become a pest species, attaching to boats, moorings, docks, and aquaculture structures. It is also capable of having serious impacts on native coastal ecosystems and is considered one of the world’s 100 Worst Invaders.

Scientists from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and UC Davis discovered this kelp in two marinas in San Francisco Bay and in Half Moon Bay in May 2009 and, working with groups of volunteers, have launched an effort to eradicate this invader.   Please come join us for removal events planned for this summer at San Francisco Marina, South Beach Harbor Marina and Pillar Point Harbor. Removing the kelp is fun, easy and you don’t have to get wet! To find out more about volunteering and about this new invader, go to: http://www.serc.si.edu/labs/marine_invasions/MIRL_at_RTC/undaria.aspx You can also assist us by inspecting your boat and slip and removing Undaria if you find it, especially before getting underway.  

What you can do • Learn to identify the Asian kelp Undaria pinnatifida • Look for this kelp while enjoying our waterways • Regularly inspect and remove fouling from your boat, especially before cruising to a new location • Contact us to join efforts to detect and manage Undaria •  If you believe you have found Undaria, please take a photograph and email it to us at zabin@si.edu . Remove the kelp if you can do so safely and store in a plastic bag until we can confirm its identity. Do not dispose of it in the water. If you have questions, please call us at 415 435 7128.

Wow! Makes you want to jump right in, right? Except you know what Undaria is? It’s wakame. It’s the pricey seaweed served in salads in sushi bars. It’s hugely good for you, full of minerals, etc. And this Bay is so freaking polluted that we can’t eat it here. A beautiful source of nutrition, which if we harvested it instead of “eradicating” it, could feed a whole lot of people. Considering how good we are at over-exploiting marine resources, if we told the hungry masses that it was food, I’m quite sure it’d be gone in no time. But once again, mankind has shit in its own water bowl.

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