Action timeline

September 2000 – In response to pending litigation initiated by the Center and the Turtle Island Restoration Network, the California Department of Fish and Game shut down the Monterey Bay set-gillnet fishery and effectively banned gillnetting in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

October 25, 2000 – The Center petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the southwest Alaska population of sea otters as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

November 9, 2000 – In response to our 2000 petition to list southwest Alaska's sea otters, the Service listed the population as a candidate species, a designation without protective status.

September 2001 – The Center filed a petition with the Service to list northern sea otters as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The petition also requested that an updated conservation plan for the otter be developed. In response to continued petitioning, the Service began to review the status of northern sea otters.

October 2001 – The Center helped stop three pieces of state legislation that would have repealed California's Fully Protected Species law. “Fully Protected” status has been crucial to the survival and recovery of the southern sea otter as well as many other species throughout the state.

December 4, 2003 – The Center filed suit regarding the Service's failure to list the northern population of sea otters as endangered.

May 5, 2004 – Following several years of delay, the Service announced a proposed rule to list southwest Alaska sea otters as threatened.

August 9, 2005 – Southwest Alaska sea otters' threatened status became official.

December 19, 2006 – The Center filed suit challenging the administration's refusal to designate critical habitat for sea otters in Alaska. The lawsuit resulted in a court-approved settlement requiring proposed designation of critical habitat by the end of 2008

December 15, 2008 – The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed designating approximately 3.7 million acres of nearshore waters along the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, and Alaska Peninsula as critical habitat for sea otters in southwest Alaska.

October 7, 2009 – The Service designated 5,855 square miles of nearshore waters along the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, and Alaska Peninsula as critical habitat for southwest Alaska sea otters. The designation left out habitat in deeper waters, as well as important areas farther from shore.

September 1, 2016 –  The Center added $10,000 to the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for shooting and killing several California sea otters. The bodies of three male sea otters, shot dead, were found between Aug. 12 and Aug. 19 near Santa Cruz. The body of a fourth was found Aug. 20 and had a suspected gunshot wound.

Photo courtesy Flickr/Sean McCann