This article was produced through a collaborative partnership and workshops with Indigenous knowledge holders in Alaska and British Columbia, along with quantitative and qualitative interviews in two Indigenous communities among the first to experience sea otter recovery. Although the ecological responses to reintroduction of extirpated species such as the sea otter are well-studied, this article examines Indigenous Peoples’ perceptions of the changing social-ecological conditions brought by the otter re-introductions, as well as their communities’ ability to adapt to these changes. Community members identified four broad strategies as critical to improving coexistence with sea otters: (a) strengthening Indigenous governance and decision-making authority, (b) promoting adaptive co-management, (c) weaving Indigenous knowledge and Western science into management plans and (d) establishing learning platforms. Communities also identified that increased livelihood options and financial assistance would not compensate for lost food security due to the otters’ impact on traditional foods such as shellfish.

Enabling coexistence: Navigating predator-induced regime shifts in human-ocean systems