Fishermen Fight Enemy in Court—Sea Otters
They want otter-free zone off California coast
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2013 7:22 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Southern California fishermen have gone to court to protect their catch from sea otters. The industry has filed a federal lawsuit demanding that the US Fish and Wildlife Service reinstate a no-otter zone off part of the coast, reports Courthouse News Service. It seems the sea otters love to hoover up shellfish, and the fishermen are afraid their livelihoods will be wiped out. "We're not attacking sea otters," one of their attorneys tells the Los Angeles Times. "It's just that without a sea otter management zone, the fisheries our clients rely on will be decimated in 10 to 20 years."

Some background on the zone he's talking about, from a blog at Earthjustice: Congress authorized it in the 1980s. The idea was to relocate the otters from those fishing grounds to the more isolated San Nicolas Island, a move that was supposed to help both the otters and the fishermen. The problem is that the otters never took to the island and kept trying to return to their original waters. They would often get injured while being trapped and relocated. The Fish and Wildlife Service finally scrapped the no-otter zone in January, and the fishermen say the agency had no authority to do so. Environmental groups worried about the otters' stagnant population (about 2,800 for several years now) are stepping up to defend them in court. "If the fishermen's lawsuit were to prevail, our concern is that harm, injury and even death to sea otters would follow," says a rep from the nonprofit Friends of the Sea Otter. (Click for another story about wildlife and human intervention, this time at Yellowstone.)

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Showing 3 of 31 comments
JT119
Aug 4, 2013 8:23 AM CDT
You read or hear about something like this and you can't help thinking and quite frankly believing these people are white men, this is so ridiculouse that you can associate it only the species of whites. I AM NOT RACIST, its just the truth
iq145
Aug 3, 2013 9:22 PM CDT
The otters are smarter than those idiots!
YankeeJane
Aug 3, 2013 5:25 PM CDT
Frack the fishermen. The otters were here first!