Adapting to the reintroduction of the sea otter: a case study with the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations

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Author: Thomas, Gwyn
Sea otters became extirpated in BC by the early 1900s, but 89 were reintroduced to the northwest coast of Vancouver Island between 1969-1972, and as of 2013 there are now over 5,500 sea otters on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Sea otters are voracious predators, weighing as much as 100 pounds and consuming as much as 25% of their body weight every day, and are in direct competition with First Nations for both culturally and economically important sea food like sea urchins, crab, clams and abalone. Although First Nations would like to hunt sea otters to protect important beaches and reefs this is currently illegal because sea otters are a protected species. This research examined the current sea otter management regime as well as alternative management options to explore the idea of managing sea otters using a small-scale harvest. This research also explored kelp harvesting as an economic opportunity to help mitigate the loss of revenue from clams
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