WASHINGTON (CN) – The Secretary of Commerce has irrationally and cruelly ordered that sea lions in the Columbia River must be killed immediately to protect salmon, though hydroelectric dams, fishermen and birds kill the vast majority of salmon there, and sea lions eat only 0.4 to 4.2 percent of the fish, the Humane Society claims in Federal Court.
The Humane Society says sea lions “eat between 0.4 and 4.2 percent of the 80,000 salmon and steelhead that spawn in the Columbia River. In comparison, fishermen are permitted to take approximately 9 to 12 percent, birds take 18 percent of juveniles, and hydroelectric dams take a whopping 59 percent of adults. …
“Nevertheless, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Fisheries Service has decided that sea lions in the Columbia River must be killed immediately to protect salmon, and has authorized state agents to shoot as many as 85 of the docile and federally protected marine mammals each year for 5 years – a total of 425 animals.”
The Humane Society challenges the finding that the sea lions’ “annual subsistence taking of 0.4 to 4.2 percent of the total salmon run is ‘significant’ under the MMPA (the Marine Mammal Protection Act).”