"California Fishermen File Suit in Effort To Keep 'Otter-Free Zone'"

"Suit filed on behalf of harvesters of sea urchin, abalone and lobster accuses federal agency of illegally terminating program designed to protect fisheries."

"Commercial fishermen have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for abandoning a program to create an "otter-free zone" in Southern California coastal waters that sustain shellfish industries.

The lawsuit, filed this week by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of harvesters of sea urchin, abalone and lobster south of Point Conception, accuses the agency of illegally terminating the program without congressional approval or authorization. Otters are voracious eaters of shellfish.

Federal officials ended the program in January after determining that capturing and trans-locating sea otters that wander into the "otter-free zone" was hurting efforts to protect and recover the species — even as it succeeded in protecting shellfish fisheries."

Louis Sahagun reports for the Los Angeles Times August 1, 2013.

SEE ALSO:

"Groups Will Defend Sea Otter Recovery in Southern California" (Earthjustice Release)

Source: LA Times, 08/05/2013