Re: "But I don't want the otters back" Seahunt

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Posted by seahunt on December 12, 2002 at 06:30:55:

In Reply to: Re: "But I don't want the otters back" Seahunt posted by Chuck Tribolet on December 11, 2002 at 21:47:27:

From what I have seen, the diversity of Monterey is the exception. I have dove with the otters there. It is still beautiful diving there and even some abs survive... way down in cracks. South of there, where I have spent a lot of time, there is no comparisson. There are fish and some invertebrate species that otters don't eat, but that's it. Really, otters do actually promote diversity, but at a huge cost to many of the climax species. Most places, the diversity is nothing like Monterey. I have dove the otter areas south of Monterey a lot and they are scoured. Sure I see a purple urchin or scallop fairly often, but the otter's impact is completely overwhelming. They have cleaned it out.
I think it is a matter of perspective. Most divers notice fish more than invertebrates. The fish do fine around otters. Many of the invertebrates get hammered. I just tend to notice the invertebrates more. Sponges and anemones do well. Mollusks and echoniderms don't.
You may have seen more visible diversity at Monterey than what you might have seen at the Channel Islands, I remember that amazing diversity, but I don't think you should compare the two in general, because in terms of otters and what they eat, there is no comparisson. Also, there are areas of the Channel Islands that surpass Monterey for diversity and many areas that surpass Monterey for lushness..
Remember Pismo Beach. The clams vanished. Then one year, they all came back. There were zillions of small clams and the rangers spent their time telling everyone to leave them alone until they were big and chasing out one particular ethnic group that liked collecting them. Everyone was thrilled to see the clams back and the biologists were happy to see the reproductive cycle. Then it became moot as the otters ate them all.
The problem is how you look at it. If you like to hunt, you have a problem with otters. The reefs cannot support both human and otter hunting. If you don't hunt, otters are fine. You can look at the little stuff they leave behind, but anything they can eat, and that's a lot, is simply gone.
Otters are just too voracious for my likings. They eat so much that they live in a state of perpetual starvation. The harshness of their survival extends over to their cute habits of kidnapping and all those other cute things they do. The diving of the southern shores and the islands is what it is and I can hunt and photograph all kinds of life. In otter areas, most all of it is just gone.
It's really a matter of honesty and decision. Look at what otter food requirements are. Go to a calm area where they take their food to eat. Look at all the little shells there. Be honest about what they destroy in the ecology. Tell me honestly if humans and otters can hunt the same things. Decide if it matters to you.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt

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