Ecological Management of Kelp Forests in Oregon and Washington

Managing Bull Kelp

Kelp forests contribute significantly to the productivity of shallow marine ecosystems and provide habitat for a diversity of fishes and invertebrates. Removal of these forests affects kelp populations and the many species that depend on them as nursery and foraging grounds. Commercial demand for kelp has increased, resulting in an expansion in the species of kelp harvested. Giant kelp off the coast of California is currently harvested to meet these needs, but an expansion of the harvest northward into Oregon and Washington would impact a different species of kelp, Bull kelp. However, the reproductive strategies of kelp species are different and the harvest methods for Giant kelp may not be appropriate for a sustainable harvest of Bull kelp. This project reviews the ecology of the two types of kelp along the West coast of North America, addresses current and future human uses and threats to the species, and discusses approaches to managing these resources.

Recent Work