Overfishing Kills Sea Lions Too

Twenty, the number of sea lions shot to death along the Oregon coast this year.  The sea lions are being killed for eating salmon. 
Dalin D'Alessandro a Portland State University research assistant with the Northern Oregon-Southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Network believes the killing is due to fishermen frustrated over competition for their catch. While it's typical to see a slight increase in dead sea lions around the opening of salmon season, recent numbers are about four times the norm for the same time period.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, sea lions are protected from harassment by humans. However, an exception is made for specific circumstances in which sea lions are deemed to be a significant threat to salmon.  In this case, California sea lions have been observed eating endangered Columbia River chinook salmon at Bonneville Dam, on the border between Washington and Oregon.

The sea lions represent a massive headache each year as chinook salmon begin arriving at the Bonneville Dam east of Portland, congregating in large numbers as they return from the ocean. Sea lions have become keenly aware that the dam is a great spot to feast on salmon, easy pickings as they wait to go up the dam's fish ladders.

The Humane Society of the United States, say that a far greater danger to salmon are hydroelectric dams on the Columbia, which are an obstacle to salmon both as they head out to sea and when they return from the ocean to spawn.  The Humane Society also says fishermen catch three times as many salmon as sea lions eat.

How can you help?  Contact the Governors of Washington and Oregon and tell them to stop killing sea lions at Bonneville Dam.


"The Columbian | Serving Clark County, Washington." 20 Sea Lions Found Dead in Two Months. The Columbian, 05 June 2012. Web. 09 June 2012. <http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/jun/05/20-dead-sea-lions-2-months-n-ore-s-wash/>.

Muskus, Jeff. "Sea Lions Killed For Eating Salmon." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 08 Mar. 2010. Web. 09 June 2012. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/08/sea-lions-killed-for-eati_n_490492.html>.

Tobias, Lori. "Two More Sea Lions Shot to Death along Oregon Coast, Bringing Number to about 20." The Oregonian. OregonLive.com, 04 June 2012. Web. 09 June 2012. <http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/06/two_more_sea_lions_shot_to_dea.html>.

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