Petition Closed

Is your salmon - sea lion safe? If it came from the Columbia River, it is not.

While hundreds of thousands of fishermen are encouraged to fish the Columbia River, California sea lions are being branded, hazed and killed for eating salmon.

On March 15, 2012, NOAA Fisheries issued a letter authorizing the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho to use lethal means to remove up to 92 salmon-eating sea lions from the Bonneville Dam.  Following the release of the letter, the Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit and sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the killings.  The lawsuit is pending, however a federal judge denied the restraining order.  Judge James Boasberg did rule that 30 sea lions (not 92) can be killed per year and that the method of killing shall be by lethal injection.

The states claim they are removing the sea lions in an effort to protect threatened and endangered populations of salmon and steelhead. The California sea lion is a protected species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. However, the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho have been granted permission to remove the sea lions by NOAA –Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for managing marine animals. The authority was granted under Section 120 of the act and allows the states to use lethal and non-lethal (hazing) means to remove individual California sea lions that have been documented eating salmon or steelhead in the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam.

Oregon reports that Sport fishing generates substantial economic benefits. There were an estimated 631,000 anglers in 2008, accounting for about 8.4 million fishing days and fishing trip-related expenditures of $341.5 million state-wide. Commercial salmon fishing also contributes to Oregon’s economy. In 2010, personal income impacts of the Columbia River salmon fisheries were estimated at $9.5 million.

So, is the lethal removal of sea lions really about protecting endangered salmon, or is it about bringing the almighty dollar into state coffers, even at the expense of the LIVES of protected marine mammals?


For more on how YOU can help save the sea lions of Bonneville Dam, visit our website at: 

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(photo of branded sea lion near the Bonneville Dam courtesy of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society)

Letter to
Salmon for All Bruce Buckmaster
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Guy Norman
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Steve Williams
and 10 others
Confederated Bands of the Yakama Nation Paul Ward
NOAA Fisheries Rob Walton
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Carl Scheeler
Oregon Anglers Dennis Richey
Nez Perce Tribes Joe Oatman
American Fisheries Society Barry McPherson
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Doug Hatch
NOAA Marine Mammal Lab Robert DeLong
Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation Jody Calica
Governor of Washington Chris Gregoire
I just signed the following petition addressed to Members of the Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Taskforce who voted in support of the lethal removal of California sea lions from the Columbia River.

I pledge to BOYCOTT Columbia River salmon to save California sea lions. As long as the states of Oregon and Washington continue the lethal removal of California sea lions from the Columbia River, I will NOT buy salmon caught in the Columbia River. I will NOT support the sport fishing industry of the Columbia River and I will be sure to urge my friends and family to do the same.