In September 2005, sea otters from the western side of Cook Inlet westward through the end of the Aleutian chain were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. TASSC recognizes that local residents are the eyes and ears of the ecosystem. This listing, as well as concerns about the North Pacific ecosystem, make local involvement in research and management even more crucial. Having Alaska Native and community involvement in partnership with the USFWS provides benefits at all levels. There currently are no co-management arrangements with the USFWS for sea otters in Alaska.
There are 3 recognized sea otter populations in Alaska. They are the Southwest (currently listed as Engangered under the ESA), the Southcentral and the Southeast.
The SW population encompasses sea otters throughout the Aleutians, Bristol Bay and Kodiak. There is an estimated minimum of 45,064 sea otters in the SW stock. The population appears to have stabilizd in many areas, however the population is still decreasing in the Western Aleutians.
The SC population encompasses sea otters in Cook Inlet and Prince Wiliam Sound. There is an estimated minimum of 12,774 sea otters in the SC stock. The population trend for the SC stock is increasing.
The SE population includes sea otters in Southeast Alaska including Yakutat. There is an estimated minimum of 21,798 sea otters in the SE stock. Sea otters are moving into waters where they have not traditionally been. This stock has an increasing population trend.