Alaska Sea Grant
Impacts of sea otter recolonization on marine resources and coastal communities in southern Southeast Alaska
The ongoing resource conflict between sea otters and commercial, sport and subsistence harvesters in southern Southeast Alaska has been underway for at least 15 years. This project is a continuation of an Alaska Sea Grant 2010 project to investigate the impacts of sea otter recolonization on four commercially important species and their associated fisheries (Southeast Alaska sea cucumbers, red sea urchins, Dungeness crab and geoduck clams). We propose to expand our ongoing sea otter diet survey to areas identified as important to commercial fisheries. In addition we will investigate the diet of 40 sea otters, radio-tagged at the current sea otter population boundary as a part of a companion NPRB project. We hypothesize that the proportion of sea otter diet that is of commercial importance on the colonizing front of a population is greater than in areas where sea otters have occupied habitats for extended times. Using data obtained through these efforts in combination with Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) catch and bio-assessment statistics, we will quantify current effects and project future effects of sea otters on marine invertebrate fisheries in the region. We will examine historic sea otter distribution by collecting local and traditional knowledge through semi-directed stakeholder interviews. We will then assimilate this information into a spatial model and present a draft of the model to stakeholders during outreach meetings in five communities in southern Southeast Alaska. At these meetings, we will also report our findings and engage local communities on the effects of an increasing sea otter population on local fisheries. After completion of fieldwork and associated data analysis, we propose to conduct a one-day workshop with federal and state management agency personnel, stakeholders, tribal and community leaders, and outside experts on sea otter/fisheries conflicts to present our results and discuss possible management actions for this continuing fisheries conflict.
Data and Resources
Start Date: 2012/02/01
End Date: 2014/01/30