August 26, 2013

Sea otter documentary highlights the impacts that the Service's management zone decision will have on Southern California fisheries

By Jonathan Wood Attorney

Students from UC Santa Barbara have produced a documentary on the termination of the sea otter management zone, which PLF is challenging on behalf of four California fishing groups that are threatened with both the loss of their livelihoods and criminal punishment. The documentary does an excellent job explaining the human consequences of the Service’s unlawful decision. Of particular note, Steve Shimek, the founder of The Otter Project—which supports the Service’s decision—acknowledges that the fishermen have a very reasonable argument regarding the threat that the termination poses to their way of life.

Our video on the case can be found here.

learn more about

California Sea Urchin Commission v. Jacobson

A federal statute requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to exempt lawful fishing activities from the broad prohibitions against the incidental taking of sea otters. This compromise between the Service’s desire to establish a new sea otter population and the fishing industry reflects Congress’s recognition that introducing sea otters into Southern California waters could severely impair the health and sustainability of local fisheries, threatening the livelihood of those who depend on them. The Service ignored this Congressional balancing of interests and PLF sued on behalf of sea urchin and abalone divers, lobster trappers, and other fishermen whose livelihoods are threatened by Service’s unilateral termination of protection for lawful fishing activities.

Read more

What to read next