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No-otter zone ended in California

Thee U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has decided to end southern California’s “no-otter” zone. 

Friends of the Sea Otter, Monterey Bay Aquarium, The Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, and Oceans Public Trust Initiative, a project of Earth Island Institute’s International Marine Mammal Program announced this final decision today, calling it a positive step toward the ultimate restoration of a healthy sea otter population along our coast.

Jim Curland, Advocacy Program Director, Friends of the Sea Otter stated, “It is long overdue, but a great day for sea otters to have this impediment to natural range expansion lifted.”

Nearly 25 years ago, as part of a “translocation program” that sought to create a new population of sea otters on San Nicolas Island, FWS created a “no-otter” zone south of Point Conception from which sea otters would be captured and moved back north of the zone’s boundary.

The move north did not bring about a sea otter recovery, and FWS subsequently determined that enforcement of the zone jeopardized the continued survival of the specie

"Sea otters face very real threats, from coastal pollution to a rise in deaths from shark bites," said Andy Johnson, manager of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program.  "The ‘no-otter’ zone was another barrier to their recovery.  It’s great news that this impediment has been removed."

A 2012 rescued sea otter pup at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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