her cute looks and tool-use have made them famous: sea otters use stones to open swimming on his back, hard prey, like clams on your belly. Also, they are for your tragic story, but with a positive outcome - known: in the North Pacific was once widespread fur-bearing animals were in the 18th century. and 19. Century hunted for their fur to the very edge of extinction. Just in time, the small residual holdings were protected and so were able to spread out the sea otters, especially since the 1970s, and again in some areas of the North American Pacific coast.The return provides the pros and cons
However, the Comeback of the little robber is not met with enthusiasm. Due to their appetite for sea urchins, clams and crabs it came to conflicts with coastal communities and fishermen, for these marine animals represent an important source of income. It is clear, however, that the sea otters on the other side for a healthier Ecosystem in the sea. By keeping urchins in check, encourage you, especially the growth of kelp forests that serve many living organisms as a habitat. Ultimately, the income can increase when fishing and it comes to a climate-friendly carbon storage in the biomass. And, not least, the sea otter is also the engine of tourism in the Region, as a recent study has shown. It is, for example, boat tours are organized to the friendly animals, they are a model for plush animals, appearing on T-Shirts and postcards and many other Souvenirs.
Against this Background, a research team led by Edward Gregr, University of British Columbia in Vancouver overview: you have carried out as an example for Vancouver Island regional economic analysis of the costs and Benefits of the reintroduction of the sea otter on the West coast of Canada. For the analysis, the researchers combined results from local ecological field studies with available economic data and the results of the tourism study.
"our results show that the coastal ecosystems that occur where river otters to almost 40 percent are more productive than those without these predators. In the long term, the higher fish catches in the value of nine million canadian dollars, carbon storage in the value of two million dollars and a tourist potential in the value of 42 million dollars per year means", reported the scientist. The economic advantages of the return of the sea otters could exceed the commercial losses of the cancer, sea urchin and mussel fisheries in the Region of seven million canadian dollars (about 4.6 million euros) per year, the conclusion of the cost-Benefit analysis.
"It is clear that humanity needs to reverse the decline of biological diversity, if we are to achieve a sustainable future," says Co-author Kai Chan. "This study shows that recovery of key species in Ecosystems, can also be for the people of great Benefit. The study can also serve as an example for the assessment of the recovery of predator populations in other places", said the scientist.
The Team stresses, however, that it is important to note that not all of the Benefits of a recovery of old ecological benefit balance - therefore, under certain circumstances, the policy. In British Columbia you need to be, according to future management decisions, especially the impact on local indigenous communities and their fishermen into account the losses due to the growing otter populations in particular.
"sea otters co-existed with the indigenous peoples of this Region for thousands of years, and were farmed by them, before they were hunted by the fur trade almost to extinction," said Gregr. "Your recovery is an opportunity for the canadian government to bring the Management of the coastal fishing with the local communities and regional stakeholders in order to obtain strong, healthy coastal communities and healthy otter populations," the scientists.
source: University of British Columbia, special articles: Science, doi: 10.1126/science.aay5342
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