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animal rights | environment

Sea Lions, Make Your Comments to WDFW Before April 4th.

Article link and instructions on commenting about Sea Lion slaughter
"Under provisions of the State Environmental Policy Act, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is soliciting public comments on the sea lion removal proposal. Comments may be submitted from March 21 through April 4 via email ( SEPAdesk2@dfw.wa.gov) or by mail to Teresa Eturaspe, SEPA coordinator, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA."


Thank you!!! 26.Mar.2008 20:53

thank you!!!

Thank you so much for putting this up!!!

It means so much that we stand up for these animals right here in our ecosystem, right here with us. This means everything. Often, people get caught up in causes far away -- saving the Amazon rain forest and forgetting the Cascadian rain forest, writing letters to save polar bears but forgetting sea lions in our own back yard. Not that saving the Amazon rain forest and the polar bears are not important causes -- they are! But this is something right here, tangible, in our own region that we can really do something about. Thank you for stepping up, Jeph, thanks for talking about this at the meeting tonite (I heard, even if I was not there), and thanks to anyone who steps up with you. This is something we can do, right here, right now, to prevent some suffering in the world. It's worth it. Please do this, and help the sea lions.

Reverse Section 120 ! 27.Mar.2008 15:50

Earthworm Dubnet10@aol.com

Section 120 must be reconsidered because it will have little to no significant positive affect on recovering salmon populations. We need to address the most significant negative factor affecting the salmon population, over-fishing. Perhaps government agencies, feeling pressure to appease outside interests, are using sea lions as a scapegoat. "If you kill sea lions, it looks like you are doing something meaningful, but it is meaningless"(Sharon Young). The most effective and logical prescriptions would have nothing to do with sea lions; they would focus on the animal that has the most significant negative impact, humans.

In their Final Report, the task force uses the failure of the non-lethal hazing techniques at Bonneville Dam as support for section120 (Final Report 8). They assume the perspective that sea lion predation is the one and only threat to recovering salmon and that other management perspectives will not be effective or do not need to be explored. But, in the house notes accompanying the amendment of section 120 congress adds, "protection to seals and sea lions under the Act should not be lifted first without giving careful consideration to other reasons for the decline", acknowledging that the predator prey population dynamics is complicated due to human development resulting in habitat loss or manipulation, pollution, and other factors, such as over fishing that contribute to declines in fish population (Final Report Appendix B).

Between 2000-2005, Alaskan trawl fisheries accounted for harvesting 237,594 endangered Columbia River salmon species (Final Report Appendix B), an average of 47,519 fish per year. That would account for over half (63%) of the estimated 75,000 endangered salmon that spawn in the Columbia River each spring. During 2002-2005, sea lion predation was documented taking .4%, 1.1%, 1.9%, and 3.4% chronologically (U.S... Chronology).

The NMFS admitted that "Ocean fisheries pose a significant threat to salmon, even small ocean harvests of adult salmon can significantly reduce a salmon population's likelihood of surviving and recovering in the wild" (Final Report Appendix B).

Since 2001, NMFS permitted harvest rates for sport fishermen on the Columbia River have been as high as 11% (Final Report Appendix B). In 2002 and 2006, when sea lion predation accounted for .3% and 2.7%, permitted tribal harvest rates ranged from 6% to 10% respectively (Final Report Appendix B).

The Biological Assessment completed in August 2007 determined that the range of combined tribunal and non-tribunal sport fisherman was 14-15%, while sea lion predation accounted for only 4% (Final Report Appendix B).

It is clear that the permitted extraction of endangered Columbia River salmon harvested by both commercial and recreational fishermen is much greater than those eaten by sea lions at the Bonneville dam. These levels of extraction for fishermen are considered to be sustainable by the NMFS and must change in order to help the recovery of endangered fish because simply killing sea lions around the dam will not solve the problem.

This lethal action will not effectively increase recovering salmon populations. There is an estimated 1,000-2,000 sea lions that roam in the 145 miles between the Bonneville Dam and the Pacific Ocean (Final Report 7). Scientists have identified 271 individuals eating state listed fish, of which 151 were classified as being "highly identifiable" (Final Report 7). Sea lions migrate up and down stream with the spring salmon runs and are capable of leading one another to the dam (Final Report Appendix B). Others would quickly migrate to fill the vacated niche (Final report Appendix B).

It is important to note that, the purpose of section 120 "was intended to address situations in which a few animals have developed a novel foraging habit that is having a significant negative impact on endangered or threatened fish, such that if they can be eliminated, their deaths will appreciably assist recovery", this is not the situation we see at the Bonneville dam (Sharon Young). Furthermore, other options have yet to be exercised.

Aside from being extremely ethically problematic, killing sea lions to help recovering fish populations does not have a science-based foundation, and also has a very unpredictable outcome. Lets get the powers that be to reconsider this irresponsible course of action and focus on a more logical and effective management strategy in order to promote endangered fish populations--stricter fishing regulations. There is simply no reason to have Sea lions be killed in vain.