Which way is it going to be? The feds have made their presence in southeast Alaska known, engaging in undercover investigations into sea otter hunting and trading which have resulted in one Haida hunter/furrier accepting a plea deal for a felony conviction and house arrest. Meanwhile, State Senator Bert Stedman is proposing legislation that will put a bounty of $100 on the head of sea otters in the region. Huffington Post reports:
An Alaska state senator is proposing a bounty on sea otters, the cute little marine mammals often seen by tourists swimming on their backs between cruise ships, sometimes munching on a fresh crab or clams.
Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, sees the furry-faced critters as a growing threat to shellfish beds, particularly in southeast Alaska, where he is from. On Wednesday, he introduced legislation that would have the state pay $100 for each sea otter lawfully killed under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
“We’re not talking eradication. We’re talking slowing the population growth,” he said. “In my opinion, we’re not going to get any help from the federal government.”
Traditionally wildlife management in the region has been in the hands of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribes, clans and villages. These are the only entities which have proven capable of “managing” sustainable fisheries and wildlife over the long term in the region. Now our traditional hunters, trappers, furriers and traders face felony charges from the feds on one hand, and potential incentives from the state on the other. Just another day in Indian Country, I guess.