Nearly a thousand scuba divers armed with hammers are currently cracking a major ecological problem off the southern California coastline -- a plague of spiny sea-urchins.
GV PAN..Divers on beach to open sea
CU Sea urchin on rock
GV Divers in water
CU Diver submerging
CU Diver smashing sea urchins with hammer (2 shots)
MV Several divers hammering at sea urchins
CU & MV Divers smashing sea urchins (2 shots)
SV Board showing urchin kill
GV Beach and bathers (4 shots)
Initials SGM/1617 ES.1632
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Nearly a thousand scuba divers armed with hammers are currently cracking a major ecological problem off the southern California coastline -- a plague of spiny sea-urchins. The urchins have multiplied since divers and fishermen killed of the natural enemy of the urchins, the sea otter. The result has been that the urchins have driven fish away from the coastline by eating all the food. So far about 300,000 urchins have been destroyed.
SYNOPSIS: Off the south Californian coast, scientists and divers have been tackling a major ecological problem.
This is the problem -- the spiny sea urchin. It has multiplied to plague proportions since fishermen killed off its natural enemy, the sea otter.
Nearly a thousand scuba divers have been called in to help tack the problem. Their methods are crude, but effective. They simple take a hammer and smash the offending sea urchins. Why all the fuss? Well, the sea urchins eat beds of kelp -- that's a variety of seaweed. Without the kelp, fish and lobsters disappear from these waters. That gets the fishermen annoyed and you will remember that they started the whole process by killing the sea otters.
Besides smashing the sea urchin menace, there are also plans to reseed rocks with the precious beds of kelp. No-one, however, seems to have mentioned reintroducing the sea-otter...
The hunters keep a daily tally of the urchin kill. By now, the overall total is past three-hundred-thousand. But there's st. a lot of underwater hammering to be done before the area can be turned into a planned underseas national park. In the meantime, man has another lesson to learn from the results of tampering with the environment.