H.R. 2714, a bill introduced by Rep. Donald Young (R- Alaska) threatens to restart the fur trade of northern sea otters.
All sea otters are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act which makes it illegal to hunt a sea otter or sell any products made from the body of a sea otter, unless the sea otter is harvested by an Alaskan Native for subsistence purposes.
Currently, even an Alaskan Native must sufficiently alter a sea otter pelt into some kind of traditional artifact or handicraft before selling anything made from a sea otter.
H.R. 2714 restarts the fur trade by allowing the sale and purchase of unaltered sea otter pelts.
Hats, clothing, footwear and all other manner of items could be commercially produced again out of sea otter fur for the broader market anywhere in the country.
This has happened before and it nearly destroyed the species.
The bill's supporters claim sea otter populations, especially in southeast Alaska, are too large and growing too fast. However, population growth is near an all-time low, harvest rates have more than doubled in the last few years, and hundreds of miles of suitable habitat remains unutilized by sea otters.
Tell your representative to heed the lessons history has taught us. Tell them you oppose the start of a new fur trade that could undo all the progress that the sea otter population has made.
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