Public Can Comment On Killing Of Sea Lions In Columbia River Until October 29
BY MONICA SAMAYOA / OPB
Three Northwest states’ request to lethally remove sea lions from the Columbia River is now open for public comment.
This comes after state fish and wildlife agencies in Oregon, Washington and Idaho applied for federal authorization to kill California sea lions and Steller sea lions that are preying on salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River.
“This isn’t the one strategy, it’s part of a broad strategy to both protect and recover this fish that so many people are working hard to see come back,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Michael Milstein said.
A study by the National Marine Fisheries Service found sea lions were eating between 20% and 43% of the spring chinook run of salmon on the Columbia River.
Several failed, non-lethal strategies have been attempted to remove sea lions, which have been eating the endangered salmon and steelhead.
Last year, sea lions at Willamette Falls ate a quarter of a winter steelhead run that was already down to about 500 fish.
“Certainly, there’s a lot of people who value sea lions as well as they value salmon and I think this approach balances the interests so that, you know we have a healthy sea lion population but we also want to have healthy fish populations,” Milstein said.
Public comment will remain open until Oct. 29, 2019. A task force will consider the states’ request, public input, and other information before making a recommendation.
Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting
A big rebound in the sea lion population along the West Coast in recent years has created a constant battle to wrangle the protected animals. They’re smart and fun to watch from a safe distance, but also noisy, smelly and proving to be a headache for some coastal marinas. Continue Reading They Smell, Bark And Snatch Pet Dogs. Sea Lions Cause Trouble At Northwest Ports
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has started killing sea lions below Willamette Falls to protect a fragile run of winter steelhead. Continue Reading Oregon Starts Killing Sea Lions At Willamette Falls
Congress has agreed to make it easier to kill sea lions threatening fragile runs of salmon in the Northwest. A bill approved by the House this week changes the Marine Mammal Protection Act to lift some of the restrictions on killing sea lions to protect salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Continue Reading Bill To Allow Killing Columbia River Sea Lions To Help Salmon Heads To President Trump’s Desk