Recovering Sea Otters in British Columbia

May 2008

Sea Otter

Once common across the Pacific Rim from northern Japan and Russia, to the Pacific coast of North America, down to Baja California, Mexico, sea otters were hunted to near extinction during the fur trade of the 18th and 19th centuries. The Canadian population was wiped out.

Between 1969 and 1972, 89 sea otters were successfully reintroduced to British Columbia (B.C.). The vulnerable creatures were, and continue to be protected from harm under law, including the Fisheries Act and the Species at Risk Act. Today, as a result of ongoing protective measures, the population in B.C. numbers over 3200 and is growing. In 2008 the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an independent scientific organization, happily downgraded this creature from threatened status, to a less at-risk status as a species of special concern.