Boater Alert: Go Slow Around Sea Otters
With the start of California’s recreational salmon season only days away, we remind boaters to keep an eye out for sea otters and go slow in waters where otters hang out. By observing no-wake laws and being extra vigilant near harbors and kelp beds, boaters can do their part to prevent accidental boat strikes that kill and injure sea otters.
Go Slow In The Slough
The Aquarium, along with Moss Landing Harbor District, Friends of the Sea Otter and other local organizations, ask boaters heading out from Moss Landing Harbor and Elkhorn Slough to protect the resident population of sea otters. Otters in the harbor and slough form part of a research population that biologists have studied for years. Data from ongoing research studies could be important to the survival of this threatened species.
In the past decade, boat strikes have contributed to the deaths of 35 sea otters in California – many in coastal waters between Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. Most boat strike deaths occur in April and May, coinciding with increased boating activity and possibly the openings of salmon (April) and rockfish (May) seasons.
Every Otter Counts
Sea otters face a number of complicated threats to their recovery including disease, pollution and food availability, but deaths from boat strikes are easily preventable when boaters are attentive and maintain slower speeds.
Recreational salmon season opens Saturday, April 5, and runs until April 30. As in past years, volunteers with the Aquarium, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and other organizations will be out for opening weekend, talking with anglers before they launch and caution everyone to slow down.