The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just denied an extension of the stay of execution for the sea lions of the Columbia river. This means that on Monday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife can legally begin killing the sea lions of the Columbia river.
This is a tragedy. Sea lions and salmon will both suffer as a result of this flawed plan. Salmon are not in decline because of sea lions, birds, or any other natural predator. Instead, they are dying of human predation. Dams and over-fishing have brought native salmon crashing toward extinction. Twenty million salmon once co-exsited with thousands of sea lions in this ecosystem. Although sea lions, in their role as natural predator, did (and do) eat salmon, they never posed a threat to the survival of the species. Rather, they maintained a careful balance -- as is the case with all healthy predator/prey relationships. Over thousands of years of co-existence with sea lions, the salmon population remained, literally, in the millions. However, the salmon have been no match for the most pernicious, exotic, invasive species of all: Homo Sapiens. Within a century of the arrival of non-Native humans into this region, the salmon population went from twenty million down to less than 1 percent of original numbers. This has nothing to do with sea lions, and everything to do with us. We cannot solve the salmon crisis until we change human predation habits.
I'm heartsick about this. Everyone who cares about salmon, sea lions, and Cascadia should be *Up* *in* *arms* about this... So very little wildness is left in Cascadia. We should all care very much about this.