Sustainable management of sea lion predation on salmon
  1. United States
  2. Wash.
  3. Letter

Sustainable management of sea lion predation on salmon

To: Gov. Inslee, Rep. McEntire, Sen. Wilson, Rep. Walsh

From: A constituent in Longview, WA

May 25

Sea lions pose a significant threat to the already vulnerable salmon populations in the Northwest. Recent data shows that between August 2021 and May 2022, an estimated 7,329 fish, including 6,170 salmon, were killed by sea lions congregating near the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. This predation disproportionately impacts threatened and endangered species like spring chinook salmon. While efforts have been made to curb sea lion populations through non-lethal methods like hazing and exclusion devices, as well as lethal removal of problem individuals, the issue persists. The Marine Mammal Protection Act initially helped sea lion populations rebound from near-extinction, but this recovery has come at the cost of further jeopardizing fragile fish stocks. Authorities must take a balanced approach that allows for responsible management of sea lion populations to safeguard vulnerable salmon runs. This could involve expanding observation areas, deterring new sea lions from joining established groups, and continuing to remove problematic individuals through legal and humane means when necessary. A comprehensive strategy is needed to restore the ecological balance and ensure the long-term survival of these iconic Pacific Northwest salmon.

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