Otters or abalones? Waaaaiit a minute…

An effort has been made to frame a debate around the issue of sea otters potentially causing the extinction of the white and black abalone, both listed as endangered on the ESA (sea otters are listed as threatened). It’s an interesting issue, but frankly, we’re skeptical. Not that we don’t love abalone–we do! It’s a California native, a sea otter delicacy, and on a recent tour of a local abalone farm, I happened to bond with one abalone in particular who suctioned to my hand. So the abalone love is strong in our corner.

It’s just that we haven’t seen any scientific evidence that sea otters would drive abalone to extinction. In fact, the research we’ve seen suggests that the species, all of which are natives of the same habitat, probably co-evolved and are suited to coexist–if we would just let them.

Here is the link to my op ed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel that ran this weekend–it is in response to an opinion peice that the Sentinel ran last week by a shellfish industry rep, Peter Halmay.

abalone feeding on kelp

Photo credit: flickr user nugunslinger (cc)

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About Allison

I am the new Executive Director of The Otter Project in Monterey, California! Originally from the Bay Area, I went to school in San Diego, and came back north to Monterey for graduate school, where I found my calling: saving sea otters! Working for The Otter Project combines my passion for environmental policy with my love of animals. When not advocating for sea otters, I enjoy yoga, volunteer wildlife rehab, reading, and spending time with my cat Alyssa, who, for the record, I did not name. I have been with The Otter Project since November of 2007.
This entry was posted in Fisheries Conflicts, No Otter Zone, Otters in the food chain and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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