Scientists to test sea otters’ reaction to seismic tests

October 15, 2012

Wildlife biologists and researchers have arrived in San Luis Obispo County to tag sea otters with surgical implants to measure the effects of the planned PG&E seismic testing on sea creatures. [SLO Tribune]

The study consists of capturing and tagging as many as 60 otters, two thirds of which will come from PG&E testing area and a one third from outside of the seismic mapping zones as a control group. Each otter will receive two surgical implants: one device that records diving activity and a radio transmitter that tracks the otters’ movement for up to three years.

Tagging of the otters began last week and will continue through Saturday. The operations stretches from Port San Luis to San Simeon with veterinarian teams located currently located on PG&E land north and south of Diablo Canyon, as well as at Morro Bay Harbor. The veterinarians, who surgically implant the tracking devices, move to San Simeon Thursday to complete the captures.

So far, the teams have captured 20 otters and tagged 16. They let four pregnant female otters go.

The Endangered Species Act lists California sea otters as threatened, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a permit to PG&E that allows only limited harassment of the otters.

PG&E plans to begin the seismic testing in mid-November.



  1. spiritpen says:

    Well, now that seismic testing was denied, what about all the otters you mutilated, PG&E, CDFG, USGS? Now you have to catch them again and cut them open again!

    *They took otters who didn’t need surgery and made it so they are now otters in need of surgery.

    *The root problem with these unnecessary surgeries is that it shows a lack of respect. One may extrapolate that this same climate of disrespect caused the precipitous decline of Southern Sea Otter in the first place.

    *Therefore, more can be done to help these otters by showing them respect than can be done through the results of these disrespectfully invasive studies

    (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. spiritpen says:

    ~The Process~

    ‘They shifted the baselines out in the bay
    Creating skewered studies to lead us astray
    Engaged in a project before we’ve had say
    That’s how they’ve taken our process away

    One crooked agency overseeing the next
    like old Texas school marms remaking the text
    They’ve tainted the process, our ocean’s been hexed
    Marine mammals dying and citizens vexed

    Otters in boxes give their plaintive call
    The Death Ship’s harassing them, babies and all
    Your studies are ‘take’, and you’ve got some gall
    But the meetings don’t start until later this fall!

    The ocean’s been changed, your science is spoiled
    We all know deep down, this is all about oil
    Shut out from the process, we still fight and toil
    To stop you from probing miles deep in the soil

    We know the game’s rigged, we know that you’re cheating
    But to underestimate us is a guaranteed beating
    You think you’re cool now but that coolness is fleeting
    Seismic Testing’s going down just like Madoff and Keating’

    On Facebook: Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing

    (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
  3. Little Sky says:

    You article does not clearly state or show link(s) to current permit being used for capture & tag’g of otters; & your declarative words of testing dates & testing areas do not sound like unbiased nor objective reporting. This testing, which is ludicrous & uwanted by MUCH OF the local, & not so local citizenry has NOT YET BEEN FULLY APPROVED BY ALL PARTIES. Please stop making it sound like it’s in the bag already (huh, much like the sensitive creatures being bagged & tagged as we speak)

    (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
  4. celebratepaso says:

    Since PG&E’s seismic testing has not yet been approved by all agencies involved in the approval process, who holds permits to be capturing & tagging this endangered species? Seems a bit premature.

    (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
  5. Cindy says:

    Poor little sea otters. Sometimes I just hate people.

    BTW Great Photo……..

    (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
    • No_More_Anger says:


      I am baffled as why you keep coming back for more abuse….Queen of Pain?

      (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
      • Cindy says:

        “Queen of Pain”………LOL,

        You actually take these blogs seriously ;)

        (-2) 2 Total Votes - 0 up - 2 down

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