If You Love Otters You Should Probably Stop Eating Fish

Their bodies washed up ashore between Santa Cruz Harbor and Seacliff State Beach in California. Three adult male otters, all shot to death.

“We are all just aghast that something like that would happen,” said the manager of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve, a field laboratory for scientific research and estuarine education, Dave Feliz.

Who in the world would deliberately kill such beautiful creatures? They’re adorable, they cuddle with their young, they swim holding hands, for goodness’ sake. As baffling as it may seem, otters do have enemies, however, and if you eat fish, you may be supporting them.

According to otter protection group The Otter Project fishermen are not an otter’s best friend. Because otters eat the fish they catch and sell for a living, fishermen are known to “accidentally” run them over with their boats to keep them from disturbing their work.

“Even if a person is angry, it has to take a certain amount more than anger to just start going out and shooting animals,” Otter Project executive director Steve Shimek told the San Francisco Chronicle. “But it also happens with California sea lions. It just happens.”

Whether by boat or by bullet, the killing of sea otters is illegal in the United States as the animal is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Still, the number of dead sea otters found stranded on the beach has steadily increased over the years. Shootings, however, are more rare with an average of one otter found shot per year in the last 15 years. The killings are problematic since the species’ population is barely growing.

Would the prospect of those lovable creatures going extinct be enough for humans to stop competing with its food supply then?

The United States is responsible for producing 250 metric tons of Abalone every year. Sea urchins — a common ingredient in sushi — is California’s largest export item from the ocean. Both are delicacies of choice for sea otters who, unlike humans, are just following their instincts when it comes to their diet.

In 2012 U.S. consumer ate 14.4 pounds of seafood. Even people who don’t eat red meat and poultry eat fish because of the misconception that the animals don’t feel pain. Well, research shows they do but if that’s not enough to trade the fish sticks for fishless filets, will the thought of a cute mammal, known to care for their family and show emotions, dying do the trick? For the sake of otters, let’s hope it will.

Photo Credit: ThinkStock


Monica D
Monica D1 years ago

I think that humanity needs to restrain its numbers and demands on nature, and allow other species to survive and thrive.

Monica D
Monica D1 years ago

I wonder whether common serving sizes of fish may be too large.

Albert R
Albert R2 years ago

The stuff in this blog is in not only incredible but also providing the great knowledge to the people.


joan silaco
joan silaco2 years ago


Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

The problem is NOT are we making too much of animal abuse- BUT we are not taking it seriously enough.

federico bortoletto


angel l.
Angela L2 years ago

I don't eat meat or sea food for 30 years. Humans are the most selfish and cruel wild beast on this planet, anything is about profit!!!!! Even if they have to kill. Consumers have a choice.

Gerald L.
Gerald L2 years ago

Human appetite for Sea Urchin Roe or Uni in Sushi Bars has helped preserve the Kelp Forests. The loss of huge kelp beds MAY contribute to the drought California is suffering. Mists and fog would build up over the beds and blow inland falling as rain. Vegan and ARst ideology of Cruelty Free Diets can be detrimental to a healthy ecology.

It is sad the 3 Otters were killed. They are part of natures way of culling Sea Urchins.

Sherene Lambert
Sherene Lambert2 years ago

This is heart wrenching:(

Bayla D.
.2 years ago

Stop eating food period!