Hunters Cove, Cape Sebastian

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Hunters Cove, Cape Sebastian

by | Aug 25, 2020

Hunters Cove is an embayment on the south side of Cape Sebastian, about 20 miles (32 km) north-northwest of Brooking and 6.3 miles (10 km) south of Gold Beach, Oregon. Hunters Island is a small grass-topped islet at the cove entrance. F.S. Moore of Gold Beach wrote that the name for Hunters Cove and Hunters Island originates from when sea otter hunting was an important industry and those engaged in the business used small boats to cruise the coast. They would use the cove for protection in stormy weather, and eventually, the cove became known for these hunters.

Sea otter once ranged from Baja California up through Alaska and across into the waters off Siberia and northern Japan. Bones in middens excavated on the Oregon Coast indicate that sea otters were once abundant here. Heavy hunting pressure in the 18th and 19th centuries caused a near extinction of the species, and by the 1920s only small isolated populations remained in Siberia, Alaska, and California. The last known Oregon sea otter was shot in 1906 at Otter Rock, an offshore island about 6.7 miles (11 km) north of Newport.

Although Russian fur traders had been active in Alaska since 1743, the Northwest Coast fur trade began in 1788, when the sloop Lady Washington, commanded by Captain Robert Gray, traded with local people for sea otter skins just north of Yaquina Bay. The Columbia Rediviva under Captain John Kendrick carried the furs to Macao and Canton as part of the China trade. By 1790, an estimated 250,000 sea otter pelts worth $50 million had been taken from coastal waters, and by 1867, when Russia sold Alaska to the United States, otters were near extinction. By 1911, both sea otters and northern fur seals were given protection under an international treaty signed by Great Britain (for Canada), Russia, Japan, and the United States. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 reinforced their protection in U.S. waters. Read more here and here. Explore more of Hunters Cove here:

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