Category Archives: Sea Otters

Stedman: Sea otter bounty bill unlikely to pass as written-Coast Alaska News

From Coast Alaska News, by  Ed Schoenfeld, January 15th 2014

Stedman last year proposed a bounty on sea otters, which eat shellfish Southeast divers and crabbers harvest. His bill brought strong criticism from environmental groups. And the federal agency managing otters said it would violate marine-mammal-protection law.

The legislation is still in play. Stedman says he wants to find a different way to support Native hunters, the only people allowed to harvest otters and process their pelts.

“I need to sit down with the Sealaska Heritage (Institute) and have a few more meetings in Juneau to work out what we’re actually going to change it to — if it’s going to end up trying to be marketing assistance or tanning assistance or something else,” he says. “But the chances of the bill going forward as it’s written, without being rewritten to take out the bounty, is slim.”

Read the full article at Coast Alaska News

Sea Otter Hunts Increase In Southeast Alaska – from AK Public Media

AK Public Media, November 12, 2013

“Southeast Alaska and the state as a whole has seen an apparent upswing in sea otter hunting in recent years. That’s according to numbers compiled by the US Fish and Wildlife Service which says this year will yield the biggest reported harvest on record for the marine mammals, which can only be hunted by Alaska Natives from coastal communities.”

Listen to an audio report at Alaska Public Media.

KTOO: Senators Debate Otter Bounty Legality

From KTOO – by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News, April 9th, 2013 

Some legislators hope to find ways to get around federal prohibitions on establishing sea-otter bounties. Backers say the payments could increase legal harvests and slow the otters’ population growth.

Sponsor Bert Stedman proposed Senate Bill 60 to set up a state-funded, $100-per-hide bounty. It would only reward coastal Alaska Native hunters, since federal law prohibits others from taking otters. Continue reading

Alaska Dispatch: Waiting for mutiny on proposed Southeast Alaska sea otter bounty

From Alaska Dispatch– By Rick Sinnott, March 25, 2013

Alaska State Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, has introduced a bill to establish a $100 bounty on sea otters. Senate Bill 60 would authorize the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to pay a bounty for sea otters lawfully harvested under the provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) if the person submits proof satisfactory to the department. Stedman attached a $28,000 fiscal note to the bill to pay for the first year’s bounties.

I’m going to briefly discuss six reasons why Stedman’s legislation is counterproductive and won’t work. There are several other scientific and social reasons why it’s a bad idea, but Stedman’s already made up his mind on that account. So let’s just trot out the six reasons most folks should be able to understand. Continue reading