The California sea otter (Enhydra lutris) population, after increasing for more than half a century, stabilized and probably declined from the mid-1970's to the mid-1980's. Estes et al. (1986) suggested that the stabilization and decline were not due to food limitation. Garshelis et al. (1990) challenged this suggestion, although in doing so they misrepresented arguments made by Estes et al. (1986), provided no evidence for alternative hypotheses, and offered no constructive recommendations for a better means of population assessment. While acknowledging some of the points made by Garshelis et al. (1990), I believe the collective evidence presented by Estes et al. )1986) provided a reasonable basis for rejecting the food-limitation hypothesis, and point out that recent increases in the California sea otter population following a legislated reduction in net entanglement mortality is strong evidence against the food-limitation hypothesis.