Surveys of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) conducted before, immediately after, or at the time of the TA^ Exxon Valdez oil spill were used to guide otter capture efforts and assess the immediate effects of the spill. Shoreline counts (by boat) of sea otters in Prince William Sound in 1984 suggested that a minimum of 4,500 sea otters inhabited nearshore waters of Prince William Sound. Areas of highest density within the western portion of Prince William Sound included the Bainbridge Island area, Montague Island, Green Island, and Port Wells. About 1,330 sea otters were counted from helicopters along the coast of the Kenai Peninsula. Highest densities of sea otters were found along the western end of the Kenai Peninsula. At Kodiak Island, about 3,500 sea otters were counted in coastal surveys from helicopters. Highest densities of sea otters were found in Perenosa Bay in northern Afognak Island, and in waters between Afogneik, Kodiak, and Raspberry Islands. Along the Alaska Peninsula, about 6,500 sea otters were counted between Kamishak Bay and Unimak Pass. Areas of concentration included the Izembek Lagoon airea. False Pass, the Pavlof Islands, Hallo Bay, and Kujulik Bay. Line transect surveys conducted offshore of the coastal strips indicate that at the time of the surveys relatively high densities of sea otters existed offshore at Kodiak Island and along the Alaska Peninsula, but not on the Kenai Peninsula.