Mixed Feeling About Killing Sea Lions

GAT

Dumbfounded
Considering man created the problem by wiping out the predators of the sea lions, I can't say I feel great about killing them off to save the salmon and steelhead. I guess it would be cost prohibitive to attempt to move them elsewhere and they'd probably just come back.

Sad situation when we need to killing animals in mass due to our own blunders in the past.

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, sea lions can consume up to 44% of the Columbia River's spring Chinook salmon run and 25% of the Willamette winter steelhead run each year.
Federal officials on Friday approved the killing of hundreds of sea lions on and near the Columbia River to help protect endangered salmon.
It marks the biggest expansion yet of a strategy to save one protected species from extinction by killing another. For the first time, Steller sea lions join California sea lions as fair game for what the government is calling “lethal control.” And individual sea lions no longer need to be documented as salmon predators before they can be killed; just being in the nearly 200-mile stretch of the Columbia and its tributaries subjects a sea lion to being killed, under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration policy.
The targeted area runs up the Columbia River from the Interstate 205 bridge to the McNary Dam, as well as any tributaries. The permit also includes any area with spawning habitats of threatened or endangered salmon.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
I have no mixed feelings. Humans are not altruists. For better or worse, we manage the planet to suit our interests. Whether we want the dams or not, we want the things the energy from dams provides us. Except for some designated wilderness areas, we manage the animal species across most of the planet, either directly or indirectly. I think we even want sea lions. But how many and at what cost to other resources that we also want? Sea lions are only a problem because we perceive their consequential predation on salmon as taking a step too far. Cuz we sure as heck want salmon, probably even more than we want sea lions. That being the case, we should manage sea lions. In fact, it was the management of sea lions through the Marine Mammal Protection Act that led to their present increased abundance that then led to excessive salmon predation. Culling excess sea lions is just the next step of human hubris at controlling nature, something we are not very good at, but have gotten ourselves into the fix of having to attempt it just the same.
 

jasmillo

WFF Supporter
I have mixed feelings as well. It’s not just lack of predators, it’s the choke points we have artificially created with dams, locks, etc. as well. I play devil’s advocate a lot on this forum because folks are so gung ho about sea lions being the root of all evil when it comes to the state of anadromous fish. Blaming a native species and then culling them because our mistakes are causing them to be so successful it essentially the type of thinking that got us in this mess in the first place.

In the end though, it is a man caused problem and the state of our fisheries makes me think at this point a man made solution is necessary, at least in the short term because the situation is so dire.

They belong here though, as do the seals and they deserve their fair share of fish. If so many runs were not on the brink of extinction, I’d fully argue humans needs to suck it up and cut back our harvest to fix the problem. Essentially, leave the pinnipeds alone and make a decision: do we want cheap salmon or cheap electricity.

Past that point now though so drastic measures probably need to be taken. As long as we realize this in NOT a long term solution....
 

jasmillo

WFF Supporter
I have no mixed feelings. Humans are not altruists. For better or worse, we manage the planet to suit our interests. Whether we want the dams or not, we want the things the energy from dams provides us. Except for some designated wilderness areas, we manage the animal species across most of the planet, either directly or indirectly. I think we even want sea lions. But how many and at what cost to other resources that we also want? Sea lions are only a problem because we perceive their consequential predation on salmon as taking a step too far. Cuz we sure as heck want salmon, probably even more than we want sea lions. That being the case, we should manage sea lions. In fact, it was the management of sea lions through the Marine Mammal Protection Act that led to their present increased abundance that then led to excessive salmon predation. Culling excess sea lions is just the next step of human hubris at controlling nature, something we are not very good at, but have gotten ourselves into the fix of having to attempt it just the same.

I agree with most of what you are saying as long as we realize the mistakes of the past and try and do better go forward....with science and nothing else leading the way.

Pipe dream....I know.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
. . . mistakes of the past . . .

It almost makes it seem like enacting the MMPA was a mistake in hindsight now that the argument can be made that we should have just left the sea lions and seals be at those low levels of abundance. Trying to be the "good guys" and restoring the populations has led to the problem of over-abundance, in relative terms, compared to what the available forage can support.

The ecology of the planet doesn't care what we do. It will go on anyway. Since we're along for the ride, and we've altered so much already, we might as well continue the effort, using what we've learned to try to achieve some semblance of balance.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
Natural Predators of Sea Lions
Sea Lions have three main predators to be careful of. They include Killer Whales, Sharks, and humans. Of course humans pose the biggest threat to them both in the water and on land than these other types of predators
 

Skip Enge

Uck Uck Uck, bitches
I have mixed feelings as well. It’s not just lack of predators, it’s the choke points we have artificially created with dams, locks, etc. as well. I play devil’s advocate a lot on this forum because folks are so gung ho about sea lions being the root of all evil when it comes to the state of anadromous fish. Blaming a native species and then culling them because our mistakes are causing them to be so successful it essentially the type of thinking that got us in this mess in the first place.

In the end though, it is a man caused problem and the state of our fisheries makes me think at this point a man made solution is necessary, at least in the short term because the situation is so dire.

They belong here though, as do the seals and they deserve their fair share of fish. If so many runs were not on the brink of extinction, I’d fully argue humans needs to suck it up and cut back our harvest to fix the problem. Essentially, leave the pinnipeds alone and make a decision: do we want cheap salmon or cheap electricity.

Past that point now though so drastic measures probably need to be taken. As long as we realize this in NOT a long term solution....

They came right back
 

Buzzy

Active Member
@GAT - I have no problem with culling the sea lion population. I guess the hick country red neck hillbilly part of me says we need to do something pretty soon or by the sea lion's own actions they will start to die off because there won't be enough salmon left for the seals own survival.

@jasmillo - don't forget that dams have other purposes besides cheap electricity.
 
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