The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed this week that the habitat of the northern sea otter receive protection along the shores of the Aleutian Islands – or at least part of their habitat would. The protection extends only 328 feet from shore. No human activity, such as fishing or oil drilling, would be allowed in this zone if it were to negatively impact the integrity of the habitat.
That’s mighty convenient, given that oil drilling and big commercial fishing operations aren’t done that close to shore in the Aleutians. Further from shore, the endangered northern sea otter will be on its own.
The scientists at the Center for Biological Diversity, which requested protection for the northern sea otter in the first place, recommended that habitat a mile from shore be protected. Public comments on the 328 feet of protection for the northern sea otter can be made to the Fish and Wildlife Service until February 17, 2009, after which a final decision will be made. (The USFWS has not yet published its plan on the northern sea otter species page – but you ought to be able to find the place to comment there, eventually.)