NOAA Reversal Bans Sea Lion Hunting On Columbia River


Last week, the federal government permanently reversed its decision to exterminate sea lions caught hunting endangered salmon on the Columbia River.

As Care2′s Lauren W. reported last month, the original proposal would have granted the states of Washington and Oregon permission to kill up to 255 sea lions at the Bonneville Dam over the next three years in order to rebuild the salmon population. However, this plan was suspended after extensive campaigning from our non-profit partner The Humane Society of the United States and over 30,000 signatures from concerned members of the Care2 community.

“We’re delighted the agency has changed its mind and revoked the states’ authorization to kill hundreds of native sea lions for having the audacity to eat fish for dinner,” Humane Society lawyer Jonathan Lovvorn said in a statement.

While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reversal will protect the sea lions for the time being, it leaves the recovery of salmon and steelhead trout populations at risk.

According to Reuters, the states contend that California sea lions swim 140 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean to gorge on the endangered fish at the Bonneville Dam. The NOAA contends that the estimated number of salmon and steelhead eaten by California sea lions has risen steadily, peaking at 5,000 last year. Both fish species have been listed as endangered since the 1990′s.

However, the Humane Society maintains that human factors, such as commercial and recreational fishing and barriers posed by hydroelectric projects, are more harmful to the fish than hungry sea lions.

The NOAA said that it will consider future requests from the states to renew permission for euthanizing sea lions, and both states said they intended to file such applications.

Related Reading:

Sea Lions Can Be Killed For Eating Salmon

Ocean Trash: Polluting Seas and Killing Sea Lions

Genetically Engineered Salmon No Laughing Matter

Image Credit: Flickr - mikebaird


Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago

thank you

Susan Griffiths
Susan G6 years ago

To kill these animals is NOT euthanizing. Euthanizing is when the animal is suffering to the point where its' life is no longer worth living and there is no hope of recovery. Anything else is murder!

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

I'm always curious when someone comes out of nowhere, after MONTHS to post something like what "Sammarye L" just said. NO PROFILE. Because of the wording, the fact it's not a current discussion and nobody but "insiders" would know what is being discussed in committees, this gives the impression that Sammarye may be a "paid" blogger.

Sammarye Lewis
Sammarye Lewis6 years ago

Sea Lions will again be killed in 2012. Because of back-room deals between Phil Anderson of Washington Dept of Fish and Wildlife, Roy Elicher of Oregon Dept of Fish and Wildlife and James Lecky, Director of Protected Resources, NMFS - NOAA, permission will again be given by NOAA to kill at least 85 sea lions. A July 22, 2011 letter from Lecky to the two Fish and Wildlife officials said that NOAA will again "collaborate" with them on the sea lion issue. The 16-member Pinniped-Fisheries Interaction Task Force that just met was deliberately stacked with 13 pro-killing members, and of course voted to resume the killings in 2012. Doc Hastings (R-Washington) is the powerful political force behind the killings. Only hope is legal action again to stop them.

Myraida Diaz
Myraida Diaz6 years ago

Stop overfishing in oceans and we will see salmons in rivers! There are lots of different sea animals at risk for overfishing,they way of fishing etc... Sea lions could not eat all those fishes running up a river if they were at their healthy level of population.Not in all their lives.But search about fishing boats and num in markets and you will see the real lion.By the way,you will feel enraged about general disaster.

Beth H.
beth Hall6 years ago

That's their God given right to eat fish and not man's right to kill them for it.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam6 years ago

thanks for the good news.

Jennifer C.
Past Member 6 years ago

Good to know. Thanks for sharing.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

John D., great suggestion, but consider the thought of putting something "electrical" under water. If it was some "grid", it would deteor anything that tried to pass, including the salmon, I would think. Ever stood in water or been wet and touched an electric fence? I have. I guess netting that was heavy enough to keep sea lions from passing by MIGHT be feasible, but considering the width of the river, not sure.

Diane L.
Diane L6 years ago

Bobbie, they ARE building wind turbines everywhere in Washington where there is enough wind to power them. Problem is that there isn't enough wind everywhere, and they need to pay the land owners to build them, and many people bitch and complain about the "noise" and they're UGLY. Personally, I don't think they are ugly, and not enough noise to be an issue. However, the wind doesn't ALWAYS blow hard enough, or the sun doesn't always shine bright enough to produce as much power as needed. The Columbia has and always will be there, hopefully. BTW, the species that is so endangered is just one run of one species, and the numbers are quite small. They spawn only in the headwaters of ONE river in Idaho. If they don't make it, yes, they will be extinct.