Popular Posts

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NOAA authorizes states to remove sea lions that threaten protected salmon

NOAA Fisheries announced that they are authorizing Idaho, Oregon and Washington to permanently remove specific California sea lions have that eaten between one-and-a-half and four percent of returning adult salmon at the Columbia River's Bonneville Dam each year during the past eight years.

The majority of the fish eaten were spring Chinook or steelhead, and almost a third of the salmon and steelhead eaten by the sea lions are from stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act.

This authorization will allow the states to target only individual sea lions that continue to eat salmon after deterrence methods have proven unsuccessful. The states may euthanize individually identified California sea lions if no permanent holding facility, typically aquariums, for them can be found.

The current population of California sea lions is almost 300,000, and biologists estimate that more than 9,000 animals could be removed from that population through human-caused actions such as ship strikes or entanglement in fishing nets without harming the species. Typically about 430 California sea lions die from human-caused actions each year.

For several years, NOAA’s Fisheries Service and state, tribal and other federal agencies have tried a wide range methods to deter the sea lions from eating the salmon, including using firecrackers and rubber buckshot, to discourage the sea lions from foraging at the dam. These efforts have been largely unsuccessful.

This authorization is in respose to a request last summer from the three states to “lethally remove” predatory sea lions under a provision of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Good news for the endangered salmon and steelhead.  Not so good news for the non endangered, growing population of California sea lions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.