Sea Shepherd to document killing of sea lions along Columbia River

sealionsFRIDAY HARBOR, Wash. – The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society announced Friday the launch of its “Dam Guardian” campaign to protect California sea lions along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon.

This marks the second year that Sea Shepherd has organized a sea lion “defense campaign” along the Columbia.

Sea Shepherd said it  plans to maintain a presence at the Bonneville Dam and the Astoria trap site with a team of more than 30 international volunteers.

 

It said its vessel Sea Shepherd RV has just arrived near the dam and will remain onsite as command central for the duration of the campaign to document the “cruel and hazing, branding, and killing of federally protected California sea lions along the Columbia River” as a way to protect salmon populations.

The campaign will run through May, the nonprofit conservation organization said.

Last year, the federal government granted a request from the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho to authorize state agents to kill as many as 92 sea lions each year for five years, if needed to protect diminishing salmon populations.

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23 comments

  • Guest

    I don't see what their gripe is. Even though the sea lions are federally protected, the same federal goverment authorized a request to eliminate a small number of sea lions to protect salmon numbers, which were in trouble anyway? Seems like the ends justify the means.

    • SSJ

      Nope, the sea lions are innocent scapegoats because the dam itself, pollution and the fishermen are the causes of the salmon problems… NOT the sea lions.

      • Jaco

        LOL you really believe that load of crap? The Sea lion population has become a huge problem, they dont need protection, they arent endangered, there are too damn many of them all along the Pacific coast, their over=population needs to be put in check. Too MUCH protection can be just as bad environmentally as too little.

      • danno

        Actually the protection needs to be lifted as they are OVERPOPULATED.Way more than EVER before. If your so worried about their well being than you would know that just like everything else on this planet.. culling the hurd is good for the species. Too many cause health problems and starvation. They are up here because they cant get enough food where they normally hunt because there are too many of them.

  • Wallace Conway

    The sea lions are doing what they naturally do, eat fish. There is no way the sea lions are going to make a dent in the millions + of salmon migrating past the dams. Remember, the Columbia River isn't the only river in the world, that has migrating salmon populations.The down river barging of smolt salmon past the dams has been happening for years. And it is working! Has been for years. The fish use the fish ladders,(if they are installed) its proven! However, some dams along the Snake river do not have such features. At
    least the ones in Washington have them. And the 24/7/365 gill netting that happens along the Columbia River could also be a contributing factor. But consider the off shore fishing process that happens. I.E. the billions of fish that are caught annually. Believe me, the sea lions cannot eat THAT many fish!
    Look at the whole picture, before you blame the Salmon decline on just a few sea lions who are only doing what comes naturally!

  • Mary Crosbie

    Are we truly going to blame the sea lions for the declining salmon population? There aren’t enough sea lions in the world to eat enough salmon to decimate the population. The problem is that humans are consuming too many fish out of our oceans, period. We overfish one species and start on the next. Humans have so upset the ecological balance of the earth (including our oceans) that we can never set it right. The only solution to saving the fish populations is to set STRICT limits on the number of fish being harvested (including by Native Americans) and that the limits be stringently enforced. This includes all fish and mammal species in the oceans. Make sure that man-made barriers (dams, etc.) have proper access for the fish to get by on their spawning journey. If mankind would stop polluting thr land and water and allow nature the time, it has the ability to self correct the problem. But blaming sea lions or other creatures for the mess we have made is asinine.

    • Bill J

      salmon are one thing that they are eating…the BREEDING stock or Sturgeon are being decimated by these Pinipeds. The breeding stock of sturgeons are not comercially harvested…the breeding stock are catch and release for the sportsman. Yet the sea lions lay waste to these decades old creatures that are the future of the sturgeon population that is declining. I'm no expert…but it is my understanding that sea lions are NOT indiginous to the columbia. Non indiginous (sp) invasive species must be removed…plant or animal. including Comorants that eat the millions of smolts.

  • jane

    It is so dumb to kill sea lions. It is overfishing and loss of spawning habitat that is getting the salmon. In Astoria, they are a huge tourist attraction. I wonder who got annoyed.

  • Jim

    "Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife — birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes — by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the millions, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative — and fatal — health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year, sends out cards praying for Peace on Earth.”
    - David Coats, Old MacDonald's Factory Farm

  • BobOregon

    I have a friend who grew up in Astoria, Oregon. We went fishing with him about five years ago and there were Stellar and other seals all on the docks. We spotted some Sea Lions that had numbers on them. He explained that all of these seals have to be documented and proven to be a problem. Lots of time and money has been involved to do this right according to Federal Regulations. Only the Sea Lions that have been a real chronic problem can be removed.

    I have also heard of some pretty scary situations with these Sea Lions. They are not a cute cuddly animal. They have no fear of people and have gone after fish hooked and brought into the boat. Having a 2,000 pound animal going after your boat and trying to get in it to take your catch is a very dangerous situation.

    Oregon regulations require wild fish be released without taking them out of the water, Numerous near disasters have happened. I have also heard of undocumented situations of small aluminum boats sunk by seals hanging on the sides of the boat to try to get the fish they just landed. One report a guy was trying to release a wild salmon and a Sea Lion took the salmon and his ring finger off.

  • BobOregon

    It is true some people totally unaware of what is going on think these Sea Lions are cute cuddly animals. Stop and take pictures of them. They are actually destructive and a real problem. Sea Lions belong in the ocean and in bays but not 60 or more miles up in the rivers.

    On the news several years ago a guy just netted a salmon and was pulling the net into the boat. A Sea Lion came after the fish and took net and all and the guy that was hanging on to the net.

    Another situation is Columbia River and Willamette River Sturgeon. Sea Lions have taken up permanent residence in the rivers. When there are no salmon they are killing Sturgeon daily in large numbers. Sturgeon take around 20 years to mature and reproduce.

    Sea Shepard is a bunch of mislead extremists out to save the world. I really think the wales are worth saving and Japan has no business out there killing them as research. Which we all know is not really what they are doing. Being on the Columbia River to save the Sea Lions is totally wrong.

  • BobOregon

    I should of mentioned I feel most people would rather the Sea Lions not be harmed. The truth of the matter is that it has gotten to where nothing has worked to remedy the problem. Hatchery salmon can be replaced in a year or so. Wild salmon and Sturgeon can not be replaced as easily. The situation requires something be done and everything short of removing the most problem Sea Lions has been tried. No one really has the right answer because not everyone will agree on a solution.