Archive for Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sea lions killed for eating protected fish

March 9, 2010


A California sea lion catches an endangered chinook salmon migrating up the Columbia River in this 2007 photo.

A California sea lion catches an endangered chinook salmon migrating up the Columbia River in this 2007 photo.

— Wildlife officials have tried everything to keep sea lions from eating endangered salmon, dropping bombs that explode under water and firing rubber bullets and bean bags from shotguns and boats. Now they are resorting to issuing death sentences to the most chronic offenders.

A California sea lion last week became the first salmon predator to be euthanized this year under a program that has been denounced by those who say there are far greater dangers to salmon — including the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia.

This is the second year of the program, which is administered by wildlife officials in Oregon and Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last year, 11 sea lions were euthanized. Another four were transferred to zoos or aquariums.

The sea lions represent a massive headache each year as chinook salmon begin arriving at the Bonneville Dam east of Portland, congregating in large numbers as they return from the ocean. Sea lions have become keenly aware that the dam is a great spot to feast on salmon, easy pickings as they wait to go up the dam’s fish ladders.

“They learn. They come up here and know it’s a good place to eat, and sooner or later the salmon are going to arrive,” said Robert Stansell, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Officials are tracking 63 additional sea lions listed as repeat offenders. They are identified by scars or by numbers that were branded on them by researchers.

Sea lions have gobbled salmon forever. But their numbers have soared in recent years, as has the number of those cruising upriver to dine on salmon at Bonneville Dam. Frustrations peaked, especially among fishermen who have watched sea lions snatch salmon right out of their gill nets.

At least three of the upper Columbia River spring salmon runs that pass through the dam are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, most significantly the spring chinook salmon run.

The sea lions’ growing numbers forced state, federal and tribal agencies to intensify efforts to protect the region’s multibillion-dollar salmon recovery program.

The sea lions are protected by a 1972 federal law, but an amendment leaves open the possibility that some can be captured or killed if the states request it. Oregon and Washington did in 2006 with the support of Indian tribes and sport and commercial fishing groups.

The primary weapon against the sea lions still remains hazing, but even that has limitations.

“The problem is, as soon as the boats go around the corner, they’re right back,” Stansell said. “Some of the animals that have been there a long time don’t even move when they get hit in the back with a rubber bullet. They just keep eating their fish.”


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

Gee, sea lions eating fish. Haven't they read that only humans get to eat endangered species?

gr 8 years, 2 months ago

"repeat offenders" Ignorance of the law is no excuse. Not even for sea lions. Death to them all!

This would be hilarious if it wasn't so pitiful. Killing one protected species for eating another protected species. What about the bears upstream just picking them out of the water? Maybe we can kill all those bad bears, too.

Bozo, who or what is being unnatural in this situation?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 2 months ago

natural |ˈna ch ərəl| adjective 1 existing in or caused by nature; not made or caused by humankind : carrots contain a natural antiseptic that fights bacteria | natural disasters such as earthquakes.

sfjayhawk 8 years, 2 months ago

"especially among fishermen who have watched sea lions snatch salmon right out of their gill nets."

Fishing with gill nets is illegal.

cowboy 8 years, 2 months ago

They are trying to ban gill net fishing but have failed to get it thru.

This is more the humans want the salmon and the sea lions are better at it

Flap Doodle 8 years, 2 months ago

If the sea lions can't afford the pay-to-play, too bad for them.

RoeDapple 8 years, 2 months ago

Steller Sea Lion Recipes

Sea Lion Liver or Heart After soaking over night, cut liver or heart in small steak size pieces. Dip the steak pieces in seasoned flour mix (flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder) and fry in grease. This recipe is very good fried with onions.

Sea Lion Steak Cut steak size pieces from the shoulder area and season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Fry or broil. Also good on the barbeque.

Sea Lion Roast Cut meat from the breast area, place in roasting pan with lots of onions, a few potatoes, and carrots. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 2 hours. Roasting bags can be used and makes for a very tender roast.

Beach-Fire Sea Lion Shoulder Roast Take the shoulder blade with plenty of meat on it, season with salt, pepper and garlic, then wrap in tin foil. Place shoulder blade side down on coals. About 15 minutes before finished cooking, place beach peas, greens and burnet in the foil with some Lee & Perrins sauce. Cook until done.

Boiled Sea Lion Intestines After cleaning out the small intestines (baking soda or salt can be used, making sure to thoroughly rinse out), soak over night. After soaking, take intestines and slice a small 1 inch incision length wise every 6 inches or so. Stuff about 2 inch sized pieces of fat into incisions. Braid the intestines with the inserted fat and boil in shallow water for about 1 hour. Serve with Lee & Perrins sauce and rice. Also good cold, sliced and placed on bread with fancy mustard.

Sea Lion Burger on the Grill (Serves many) Take about 3 pounds of burger (ground with some fat, maybe 5%), add 4 eggs, about 3 cups of chopped onions and salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients very well, then shape into huge burgers and grill until done. Serve burgers with fresh steamed fireweed sprouts and rice.

Sea Lion Stir Fry Take stew size chunks of sea lion meat, flour and season them, then stir fry until almost done. Add a bit more flour and water to make a sauce. Simmer until done and serve over rice or noodles.

Sea Lion Meat, Neck Bone, and Stone Soup Take stew size chunks of sea lion meat and the neck bones and boil with seasonings of your choice. Add veggies and simmer until done. The neck bones are good to chew on.

Sea Lion Flipper Over a Fire-Pit Take sea lion flipper and place on the fire to burn off the hair and black skin. This doesn't take very long- maybe a 1/2 an hour with a good fire. Remove the hair and skin as you turn the flipper. Once all is removed, let cool. Place the flipper in a bag with seasonings (salt and pepper) and let sit in a cool place for a day. When ready to cook, simmer the flipper in a big pot with shallow water for about 1 hour. Once fully cooked, take the flipper out and place on a large platter. Eat hot or cold.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 2 months ago

Pelosi put out a contract on the sea lions because they were going to vote against the healthcare takeover.

gr 8 years, 2 months ago

So bozo, would you agree that going out and killing sea lions is unnatural and should be stopped?

BrianR 8 years, 2 months ago

The morons who made this decision should be put put to pasture. The sea lions didn't find a market and then go out and exploit the fish for personal gain. They ate the fish because that's what sea lions do. It is ceiling cat's will.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 2 months ago

Oh no! The Sea Lions are eating fish! Imagine that.....

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 2 months ago

Don't F**k with Darwin.It's a food chain out there.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 2 months ago

wouldn't anything that people do also be considered natural? We are just animals which have evolved to a point of conscience. But it doesn't change the fact that everything we do is human nature.

Stuart Evans 8 years, 2 months ago

I am concerned that the sea lions will weaponize and retaliate on humans...

Flap Doodle 8 years, 2 months ago

If the sea lions join forces with the Humbolt squid, we're all gonna die.

BitterClinger 8 years, 2 months ago

Hmmm. Protected status animal vs protected status animal.

Seems pretty simple; the protected status should be repealed on the sea lions.

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