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Representative Gallegly, R Santa Barbara and Ventura, recently introduced HR 4043. Deceptively entitled the “Military Readiness and Southern Sea Otter Conservation Act", it, in reality, is an assault on the recovery of the threatened Southern Sea Otter.
We need to work to ensure its defeat.

More below the orange kelp mat

The crux of the bill is provisions to delay the current work in progress of eliminating the "no-otter zone". This zone was set up to placate certain industries and totally failed its purpose as to placating them, as to preserving their harvests (which it could not possibly have done under any circumstances), and as to containing the otters (who don't read).  That provision is in the process of being terminated, after all normal procedures, studies, reviews, and comments, etc., by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

HR 4043 seeks to stop that termination until an ecosystem wide management plan to ensure “the commercial harvest of shellfish fisheries at levels approximating current harvests.”  That cannot be ensured because they are continuing their steady decline due to the continuation of overfishing. The shellfish industry has constantly blamed the otters for the decline in harvests, yet the otters haven't been there to cause one. Scientific studies have already shown that the declines in these species aren't caused by otter predation.

Actually, you don't need too much science to see what has happened and is happening. When I was a kid in San Diego, one could wade out waist to shoulder deep at low tide and find plentiful legal abalones. Today they are quite scarce and much further out. There have been no otters outside of zoos and such for well over 100 years down there. They didn't do it. Amateurs and later, commercial harvesters took far, far too many each year. End of story.

Further information can be found here and that page includes a link to a boilerplate pre-written letter to one's representative.

Thank you.

Originally posted to enhydra lutris on Tue Mar 06, 2012 at 11:29 AM PST.

Also republished by California politics and Dream Menders.

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