Study: Sharks Off California Coast Killing More Otters

Newsflash: Sharks kill otters.

A new and as yet unpublished analysis written by Tim Tinker and Brian Hatfield of the United States Geological Survey concludes that sea otter attacks off the California coast are four times higher than they were in the 1980's and early 1990's.

This information is based on the study of 335 dead or near dead otters washed ashore in California in 2011. Over thirty percent of these had been bitten by sharks.

The reason for the increased rush on the otter buffet by sharks remains a mystery. Researchers suspect the attacks could be the result of juvenile white sharks mistaking the otters for young sea lions then releasing them after the initial taste. Mako, sevengill, and salmon sharks are also suspected of chowing down on otters.

But while this report doesn't bode well for otters it does for the overall health of the ocean. Stanford University marine biologist Barbara Block told the New York Times the shark-otter interactions are signs of a healthy ecosystem.

I wonder if Berkley makes a salt water lure that resembles an otter? If not, I might have to make one myself. I see some strong shark fishing in my future.

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