Re: No flames, but please answer some questions

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Posted by Max Bottomtime on March 14, 2005 at 20:07:48:

In Reply to: No flames, but please answer some questions posted by seahunt on March 14, 2005 at 19:08:13:

"Who is this good for? There are plenty who will chime in and say who it is bad for, but who is this good for?
Please, don't tell me this is good for the environment. There is no way that you can describe those little furry pests as anything but gastric motivated ecological disasters. The eat everything but the sponges, anemones, starfish and a few other things."

So we should kill off the Octopus for eating lobsters? The eels for eating octopus? The Navanax for eating nudibranchs? 98% of all life in the sea eventually gets eaten. How can you say which deserves to eat and which doesn't?

"Tell me, do humans compare to an otter in destructiveness of animal biomass? You can compare any heavily dove area to any otter area."

All you need to do is look at the abalone population of Palos Verdes. Otters have been gone from here for 100 years. You certainly can't blame anyone but the two-legged animals for the disappearance of the abs.

"Please don't tell me its good for the kelp. The kelp is quite healthy. Most places, it is thick in summer and thins some after storms. Admittedly the otters might actually make a difference at PV and some rather localized urchin barrens at the islands, but generally, the kelp is pretty healthy. Also, according to Wheeler J. North, Kelp is surprisingly unimportant to the nearshore reef ecology. Relitively few species use it. What counts most is the hiding places available in the rocks. Microtopographical variation (MTB). This means the fishermen will get minimal benefit either."

Healthy kelp forests serve as a nursery for near-shore fish. Having a safe haven to reproduce will help everyone, including fishermen in the long run. In the '70s Wheeler North led a project around Palos Verdes in which he and many volunteer divers smashed urchins with hammers, eradication the urchin barrens we had then. At the time, he said there were only two or three kelp plants living around the peninsula.

"For divers, there will often be a drawback from the thicker kelp. Otter areas are usually very uninteresting and can actually be hard to dive. If there is an upper canopy, the bottom can get so dark that it is like a desert and quite hard to get through or see anything. If for some reason there is no upper canopy it is worse. The bottom kelp gets so impenetrably thick that you can see nothing. It is like flying over a forest on land. You can see the plant tops and nothing else. Go between them and there is just more plant. You try to dive in areas between the light and dark."

Those of us that love to dive in thick kelp will carry a device known as a dive light. Works just as well in the daytime. :-)

"There are no harvesters that can compete with otters. They have no take limit and their size limit is way under yours. In any case, there is no possibility of a commercial or recreational fishery for abalone, urchin, clam, scallop in current otter areas, so I expect none in Southern California either."

The southern California abalone fishery can attest to the invalidity of that statement.

"I am an environmentalist in terms of that I do not think humans will survive without keeping the environment healthy. I do not see otters as anything but an environmental disaster and a pest.
Oh, they are cute and furry. Cute and furry ecological disasters.
So tell me. What is the upside of the otters presence? The downside is horrible."

The only way for the environment to ever get healthy is for humans to stay out of it. The delicate balance of nature requires every piece of the puzzle to thrive. You hunt down the Great Whites, then you complain about all the sea lions. You kill off wolves, then the ranchers complain about all the deer in their fields. Predators play one of the most important roles in life. Humans may consider otters to be voracious feeders, sharks to be eating machines and wolves to be blood-thirsty beasts, but the reality is that they live in a world where they depend on each other for survival. Humans have come to believe that the animals are there only for our consumption. Until we learn to share this planet, rather than believe our superiority entitles us to take whatever we want, the environment will continue to dwindle. Look at some of the pictures and videos on the BAUE site and and you will see that reefs can indeed thrive in an otter zone.

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