Posted by msblucow on March 02, 2001 at 15:07:38:
In Reply to: Re: They sure are destructive...??? posted by mike on March 01, 2001 at 22:17:48:
It's a really tough nut to crack. Obviously sea otters and invertebrates co-existed rather well before large scale harvesting of sea otters started in the 1800's, but to what extent? There are many questions...
After sea otters were hunted to near extinction, is it possible that invertebrate populations became artificially large?
Has human harvesting of invertebrates brought the population down below the level it was when sea otters were still numerous?
Has the reintroduction of sea otters in these harvested areas pushed the invertebrate populations down even further?
If so, would this be a temporary situation, or would the invertebrate populations be pushed beyond the point of recovery?
Would a ban on human invertebrate harvesting in repopulated sea otter territories result in increased numbers of invertebrates - to the point where controlled harvesting could be resumed at some future date?
How does pollution and sea-side developement figure into the equation?
Can the invertebrate population recover from predation by sea otters or humans, but not both?
Is so, who wins?
I'm not advocating a position here one way or the other. I just want to point out that this situation, like most ecological issues, are extremely complicated and not at all easy to pin on one scapegoat. Food for thought.
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