Sea otter found in fishing trap in Moss Landing
Officials seek information to aid in investigation
The sea otter was found dead in an illegal fishing trap on Zmudowski State Beach in Moss Landing in Monterey County on April 18, 2021. It appears the trap washed up on the beach and may have originally been placed in the water elsewhere. The trap was a crayfish or baitfish trap that may have been used illegally in marine waters. Initial necropsy results indicate that the sea otter was a sub-adult male. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory says it is conducting a thorough examination to aid in the investigation.
Southern sea otters are protected as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act and are considered depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are also protected by California state law.
Southern sea otters, also known as California sea otters, were listed as threatened in 1977. Southern sea otters once occurred in areas well outside of California, but currently range from San Mateo County in the north to Santa Barbara County in the south, with a small subpopulation around San Nicolas Island in Ventura County.
Anyone with information about this incident should contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at the CalTIP line at 1-888-334-2258 (callers may remain anonymous) or a Special Agent of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 916-569-8444.