The first of two local public hearings on a proposal to officially end a failed program to try to help endangered sea otters is set to take place this week.
It was an ambitious idea. In 1987, endangered Southern Sea otters were relocated to San Nicolas Island, in an effort to try to get them to establish a colony there. At the same time, a no-otter zone was established south of Point Conception.
The goal was to both protect endangered otters, while at the same time keeping them separated from fishermen, because they were both after the same fish. The problem was the otters wouldn’t stay put. Efforts to relocate otters to the north from the no-otter zone failed, because the otters kept heading south. By 1993, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service dropped the program, but never officially closed the books on the effort.
If they do so, it would technically allow otters to do what they’ve already been doing, which is to expand their populations south.
Tuesday night (9/27), an informational meeting, followed by a public hearing on the plan will take place at the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center in Ventura, from five to eight p.m.
A second local hearing will take place on October 4th, at the Santa Barbara Museum Of Natural History, also from 5-8 p.m.