How do we divide fish and shellfish between people and sea otters? In Alaska, sea otters are reclaiming their historic food supply, and people are unhappy.
In the absence of sea otters, fishermen got used to catching lots of fish and shellfish. Now that the otters are coming back and eating more seafood, what do we do? Do fishermen have rights to the fish, or do otters have prior rights? And how do we decide?
The first step is a scientific study. We need to figure out whether otters are really undoing human fisheries. It's not good enough to just say that otters are back and fishing is worse. If the study says otters are hurting human fisheries, then we get to the hard question. Especially since sea otters are a threatened species that can't be harassed.
We do have some examples of US government action to protect fish from natural predators by removing protected species like sea lions. But such action is rare, and typically restricted to extreme cases like sea lions that swim up the Columbia River and eat salmon out of the Bonneville Dam fish ladders, 145 miles upriver from the ocean.