The Otter Project produces an annual southern sea otter status report to characterize the current status of the population. This is a challenging task due to year to year environmental variability and other external factors that may provide conflicting information. By analyzing annual survey data, we can assess the health and trends of the sea otter population and determine a proper course of action for improved management.
The following reports are prepared using public agency and peer reviewed data. Surveys are conducted by researchers from various organizations and coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey Western Ecological Research Center (WERC). Stranding numbers are provided by the Sea Otter Stranding Network, a coalition of agencies and organizations, including Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Geological Survey, Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. Survey data is made publicly available on the USGS website. All agency information is available for public use.
Data tables to support graphs and figures are available upon request.
Spring Survey Results
3-year Running Average
Note: The 3–year running average is the metric the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southern Sea Otter Recovery Plan recommends using to assess the sea otter population status, thus reducing the influence of anomalously high or low counts from any particular year (USFWS, 2003).
Annual Sea Otter Status Reports