Pixel Tracker

Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 12:30 am | Fair 41º


Captain’s Log: The Value of Kelp Beds

(Photo via Capt. David Bacon)

Pondering the value of our coastal kelp beds came naturally while keeping my charterboat WaveWalker close to a beautiful kelp bed off of Summerland over the weekend.

Capt. Tiffany Vague chummed live anchovies and my charter customers cast to the gaps in the kelp fronds and hooked up with calico bass and halibut.

A scene like that under a sunny sky is truly something to smile about. This is fun and the fresh fish dinners will be nutritious and tasty.

That is one of our many coastal and island kelp beds that come and go with swells, water temps and a number of other factors.

They could be made more resilient and lush with custom hold-fasts like reef balls. As kelp beds are naturally, they build up and get pulled loose periodically when the weather and sea state get all riled up.

When the kelp beds are thick, they provide ideal natural habitat for fish and other critters. They provide anglers with great fishing opportunities for fish including calico bass, halibut, white seabass, sheephead and plenty more species of tasty fish.

Divers enjoy kelp beds whether they are just viewing, filming, or maybe spear fishing.

Our giant kelp are I believe, the fastest-growing plant on the planet, gaining up to two feet per day when conditions are ideal.

On days when the fish just weren’t biting, I’ve been known to say, “Oh, we’re not really fishing seriously today, we’re just here watching the kelp grow.”

I do recall days when we’ve fished a kelp spot for half a day and I swear I could see growth.

Another benefit of kelp beds is they take some of the brunt of waves which still will on beaches but swimmers have calmer water in which to exercise.

Many folks have some issues with swimming right in the kelp canopy on the surface. I’ve heard people say it feels creepy and they fear getting hung up in it.

But for those who take the time to get familiar and comfortable with the feel, the rewards in terms of the critters they swim with is deeply gratifying.

Our kelp beds are valuable to us, and I believe we should put considerable effort into doing all we can to foster kelp growth on solid hold-fasts. The critters will benefit and that’s enough to convince me of the value of kelp beds.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >