Population genetic techniques are now preeminent in differentiating wild populations. Natural resource managers rely on them in their efforts to restore viable populations of fish and wildlife. Overfishing adversely impacted Yelloweye Rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus) on the U.S. West Coast in the late 20th century. Management actions included shutting down the fishery and curtailing others where Yelloweye are bycatch. The ability to manage separate stocks may bring relief to coastal communities where Yelloweye stock have recovered. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) was extirpated in Oregon by the turn of the 20th century. The prospect of translocating sea otters to repopulate the Oregon nearshore environment excites some. Other stakeholders may perceive the uncertainty of change as a risk. To test for population structure in the former, I analyzed DNA sequences from Yelloweye across its range, from Southern California to Alaska U.S.A. My findings confirm that a distinct stock exists in the British Columbia inside waters but that outer coastal Yelloweye are relatively panmictic. To inform the Oregon sea otter dialogue, I document the precontact Oregon sea otter as evidenced in the shell middens of First Nations people. I review the efforts of researchers using these archaeological artifacts to establish the taxonomic status of the precontact Oregon population. Finally, I develop rationale for translocation acknowledging the concerns of stakeholders uncertain about the changes that sea otters restored in Oregon waters might bring to the nearshore coupled natural-human system.