The animal rights activists claimed that it was illegal to even be trapping or harassing the Sea Lions according to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They called for an end to trapping and killing of the Sea Lions and believe that Sea Lions have been scapegoated when the real problem is humans. "The real reasons that the Salmon numbers are dwindling and that the recovery efforts are not being successful are because of the dams on the Columbia River that are operating on such a high rate and they are only allowing less than 1 percent of the Salmon run to continue. That along with the commercial fishing that is being allowed on the Columbia, are the real reasons that the Salmon recovery isn't progressing, " says Inde from Stumptown Earth First!. The activists showed up as the last traps were being removed as NOAA has now suspended the trapping.
Today was also the National Call-In Day for Sea Lions after a Sea Lion died last week in the hands of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Activists were asking people to call the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, National Oceanic Atmospheric Association, Governor Kulongoski, and Washington Governor Gregoire to get the trapping and killing stopped permanently. "The facilities and governmental organizations we want you to call are directly responsible for allowing the trapping of the Sea Lions." says Stephanie Boston from Portland Animal Defense League. Another activist states that because NOAA & ODFW were claiming that the Sea Lions were to blame and allowing the trapping, it encouraged aggression towards Sea Lions.
Courtney Kintz states, "Shooting a defenseless animal already in a pen is both cruel and cowardly. According to the NW Director of NOAA Fisheries, he agrees with the animal rights activists saying, "No true sportsman would ever shoot at a captive animal".
Environmental and animal rights activists are calling a boycott of NW Salmon until the Sea Lions are permanently safe from being killed and trapped.
Now we need to also ask, how did someone kill the 6 federally protected Sea Lions at the Bonneville Dam when it is surrounded with security? Some believe that it was an inside job, or that local fisherman received help from someone on the inside in getting access to the middle island where they could close the trap doors and shoot the Sea Lions. Someone some how was able to get access to that area. Only authorized personnel are allowed on the middle island.
The groups plan to have people keeping close watch of the Sea Lions until they feel the Sea Lions are safe.