The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a legal effort by commercial shellfish fishers to force the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to maintain an “otter-free zone” between Point Conception and the Mexican border, as congressionally mandated in 1986 by Public Law 99-625. Soon after the law was established, Fish & Wildlife abandoned efforts to capture and move otters from the zone because the process sometimes proved fatal to the marine mammals, which are protected by federal law.


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