Sea otter mortality in fish and shellfish traps: estimating potential impacts and exploring possible solutions

Authors: 

Hatfield, B., J. Ames, J. Estes, M. Tinker, A. Johnson, M. Staedler, and M. Harris

Year: 

2011

Journal/Publisher Name: 

Endangered Species Research

Volume (Issue #): 

13

Page #s: 

219-229

Contact information: 

brian_hatfield@usqs.gov
Summary: 

Sea otters are caught and drowned in fishing pots and traps.  Live California sea otters were exposed to finfish traps, lobster traps, and mock Dungeness crab traps in captive trials.  Researchers found that the otters attempted to enter the circular and rectangular fyke openings and some became entrapped.  They determined that a 3x9 inch opening, rather than the standard 4x9 inch, would prevent bycatch of free-living otters, while retaining crab catch.