MOSS LANDING, Calif. (KION) A southern sea otter was found dead in an illegal fishing trap on Zmudowski State Beach in Moss Landing, and now state and federal agencies are trying to gather information as they investigate.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the otter was found in the trap on April 18, and the agency said it looks as if the trap washed up on the beach after being placed in the water elsewhere. Investigators said it was a crayfish or baitfish trap that may have been used illegally in marine waters.
Initial results show the otter was a male that had not yet reached adulthood, according to the agency.
The Fish and Wildlife Service is working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to investigate the case. The otters are considered a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, considered depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and protected by state law.
Anyone with information is asked to call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at the CalTIP line at 1-888-334-2258 or a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent at 916-569-8444.