Well, folks, the Senate has passed the sea otter slaughter bill by Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka.
I would like to comment on this bill since I am a sea mammal hunter. Stedman, thanks for the invite since you would like to change our rights without asking all of us what we think about the sea otter slaughter bill. Being a sea mammal hunter is one of the rights that was not taken away by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. An act of extinguishment if you will. Look closely at the corporations.
If you will notice, we the shareholders do not own the land. The corporation owns it. Corporate folks walk on the marble floors while a lot of the shareholders are in poverty. You would think if we were flush with corporate money we could devote more time to sea otter control.
The first gold rush in our state was the fur from the sea otter that was harvested by the Russian America company. They enslaved the Aleuts and raped their women. The men were made to hunt the otter for the Russians.
Here are some precontact numbers of the population of the sea otter. In one year of harvest, the numbers of sea otter sold overseas in Paris, London and China, were 96,000 sea otters and 400,000 fur seals. These numbers far exceed your overpopulation numbers for otter. One hundred million dollars was made by the Russian America company. I still need to account for the Hudson Bay Company and how many otter they had traded for. Also, the English, Spanish and all other traders working on contract for the Hudson’s Bay Company.
In 1800, one ship left for foreign ports with 15,000 mixed animal pelts in the hatch.
So yes, we have a otter problem. We also must pass a new bill to take out some sea lions and don’t forget those pesky seals that are also overpopulated. Maybe a new bounty on the bald eagles since we have to compete with their fishing with more than one talon. Now you all remember the Kodiak bears being shot with a full auto 30 caliber machine gun mounted on a supercub. We had to protect those cows grazing on the Kodiak grass. Yep, money talks. So we would like to sell raw pelts overseas once again to create our own commerce. Of course none of the pelts sold overseas would be allowed back into the U.S. in any shape or form.
Anyhow, I have more to say but I will save my breath when the sea otter slaughter bill makes it to Congress. You be the judge.
• Tim C. Ackerman lives in Haines.