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Paul Wellman (file)

Coastal Commission Votes for Otters


As expected, the California Coastal Commission unanimously decided last week to give the green light to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s plans to end the failed sea otter translocation program — which was designed to transfer otters who swam south of Point Conception to San Nicolas Island — and extend protections for the threatened species to the entire Southern California coast.

As has happened at every step of the process, commercial fishermen, who are worried that an expanding otter population will decimate the shellfish industry, argued vehemently against the end of the program, but the commission sided with the feds. Meanwhile, a bill by Rep. Elton Gallegly to thwart the end of the program in order to help those fishermen lingers as an addendum to a defense bill currently moving through Congress.

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