Friday, September 9, 2011

Free the Otters

On Friday, August 26, 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife Service opened the 60 day public comment period on their proposal to end the 24-year-old southern sea otter translocation program and to abolish the otter management zone. This is the direct result of a 2009 lawsuit brought by The Otter Project and Environmental Defense Center against the US Fish and Wildlife Service for their inaction to evaluate the success or failure of its rule barring otters from southern California waters.

In a 2010 settlement agreement, the FWS agreed to release the Revised Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) before September 1, 2011 with their preferred decision.

The FWS is proposing to remove the regulations that govern southern sea otters and allow their range to naturally expand into southern California waters. The program failed to achieve its intended purpose and FWS sea otter recovery and management goals cannot be achieved by continuing the program. Public comments are now being accepted on the proposed rule, associated Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and Revised Draft SEIS.

To learn more about this issue go to

To learn how you can Take Action on the “No-Otter” Zone and let your voice be heard, go to Also find The Otter Project on Facebook for announcements about the Free The Otters campaign.

The Otter-Free Zone never made sense to me, or to any of the otters they relocated there. They swam back to live where they were accustomed to live. Otters are not the enemy of the fishermen. Overfishing is the enemy that will destroy ocean fishing. Protecting the oceans and the marine ecosystems is the only way to assure plentiful fish in the future.

Thanks, Otter Project, for championing this cause!

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