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Save the Sea Lions

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KILLING SEA LIONS WILL NOT SAVE THE SALMON

 

James Lecky,
Director, Office of Protected Resources,
National Marine Fisheries Service

FACTS:

While birds, other fishes (including non-native fish stocked by the states for the benefit of sport    fisherman) and sea lions all kill salmon, the primary threats to salmon recovery are from loss of dams blocking their normal migratory routes up and down river. These impediments are compound by harvest practices and hatchery operations that independent expert panels have highlighted as badly in need of reform.

The plan shoot sea lions coincides with estimates that this spring’s Columbia River salmon run is likely to be the  among the 4th largest since 1980 while, as of the date of lethal removal  authorization, only two California sea lions had been seen at the dam, the fewest to date of any year since 2003 and the time each animal spends at the dam has been steadily declining over the past few years.

The major causes of salmon losses are:

  • Dams: N.M.F.S. estimates the Federal Columbia River Power System kills 16.8% of adult Snake River Basin Steelhead and 59.9% of juveniles.
  • Hatcheries: In 2009, a Congressionally-mandated science panel found that current fish hatchery practices interfere with recovery and are in urgent need of reform.
  • Fishing: The states annually authorize the incidental take of between 5.5 and 17% of the Upper Columbia spring Chinook and Upper Snake River spring/summer Chinook. Additional salmon are killed in ocean fisheries. Employment of selective gear would permit wild, esa-listed salmon and steelhead to be released unharmed when caught in the Columbia River fisheries that target abundant hatchery fish.
  • Other Predators: Bird predators consume millions of juvenile salmon in the Columbia River estuary each year. N.M.F.S scientists also estimate that non-native walleye that are intentionally stocked by the states in the Columbia River eat up to 2 million juvenile salmon a year.
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SOURCE: The Humane Society of the United States

By: Dean The Sea Lion Saver



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