California’s Shellfish Industry Fight to Restore Otter-Free Zone

otters-tokeen-bayCalifornia’s shellfish industry fought the federal government’s termination of a “no-otter zone” along the Southern California coast at a Ninth Circuit hearing on Friday. Four fishing industry groups sued the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in 2013, claiming its decision to end a long-disputed sea otter translocation program would “severely compromise if not destroy” shellfish and other marine fisheries on the southern coast. Nixing the program would lead more than 300 sea otters to occupy a previously “otter-free zone” within 10 years and prey on the shellfish which fishermen depend on for their livelihood, the plaintiffs claimed in their 2013 complaint. But environmental groups had long pushed for the government to end the program, claiming it was a disaster from the start and that it bowed to the interests of the oil and fishing industries. Read the rest here 07:58

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