Mixed Feeling About Killing Sea Lions

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
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

Great whites have been protected in California since the early 90’s. I don’t recall a lot getting killed in Oregon or Washington either except for a few that might occasionally get taken out in commercial fisheries.

Our resident killer whales like salmon. Transient whales will eat sea lions but they haven’t been wiped out.

Man has had their hands tied by the marine mammal protection act and certainly hasn’t been wiped out.

I’m not discounting other things that are causing some of the problems but to say sea lion predators have been wiped out is a stretch.

You’d need a lot more sharks and whales to go on a major feeding binge to bring things back into balance.
That likely isn’t going to happen quick which brings us to human. No teeth, just guns.
SF
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
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.


I have mixed feelings but simplified.

I think it's sad that we need to kill them, but i am all for thinning the heard.

I think one thing we all need to get over is the idea that we are dealing with a natural environment.. we aren't! We are dealing with a drastically altered ecosystem. We need to manage for the situation we have, not the situation we want or believe we used to have.
 
B

bennysbuddy

I have mixed feelings but simplified.

I think it's sad that we need to kill them, but i am all for thinning the heard.

I think one thing we all need to get over is the idea that we are dealing with a natural environment.. we aren't! We are dealing with a drastically altered ecosystem. We need to manage for the situation we have, not the situation we want or believe we used to have.
there's to many humans , that's the problem
 

ChrisC

Active Member
Yeah, and what is manipulation? An action with the intent of disrupting the outcome.

I am no human dictionary but management to me is an action with the intent of directing, to the best of our knowledge, the the most holistically sound option.

Just like managing people (which I do), manipulation through force and intimidation is effective, efficient..... and extraordinarily short sighted.

I never once said outcomes of our so called “management practices” could not be potentially “beneficial”. You been around awhile. Say it with me, a broken clock.... However, how do you define that? What timeframe? Make it simpler...what measurement? The population of pinnipeds in PS today? Hmmm.....is that the measurement of “success”? In other words, would a collapsing pinniped population in PS be a fail? Considering the state of our wild fisheries, I would emphatically say NO. It should fail. They should not be as prolific as they are. We should not have to cull them.

But......we need to. And why? Because of another short sighted approach. Harvest as much as you want and artificially replace. Fine. An ecosystem will adapt if we artificially replace the same way for millions of years at the cost of....what was it 70+ million dollars a year in just WA to keep salmon fisheries somewhat viable?

I understand where you are coming from. I think culling is needed....UNFORTUNATELY.

We are NOT managing though. There is no long term outlook, no consideration of the interconnected variables driving ecosystem viability. Just a short term outlook to keep tax payers and voters happy. Nobody wants to manage. 1. Because I think it would require medium term pain. 2. Because our capacity it think through an ecosystem as complex as ours is minimal. What is the solution. Minimize our impact and let millions of years of evolution dictate the outcome. How about this; be respectful of earth, more than money, more than votes and see what happens 1,000 years from now. No instant gratification in that though. Nobody to hit the like button.....

True management will come in the shape of Covid-19’s angrier, bigger, really pissed off sibling and when it shows, it will rip us all a great big bloody new a$$hole.

For now, we can use our ability to manipulate the environment and sleep soundly at night thinking all is well, our obvious superiority, made in the image of “god” brains know all the answers....or don’t know all the answers but we are just ants doing our thing in this world, right?
Whether we want to call it management or manipulation, humans have always impacted their surroundings, beginning with early man eliminating large mammals and setting fires to hunt or clear land for agriculture. Pretty thoughtless in the past and just as much today.

In this particular case, however, I don't think you give enough credit to those who have already tried a multitude of other approaches and are now left with this one. If it doesn't move the needle, then at least it further advances other measures that people are less willing to consider today
 

jasmillo

WFF Supporter
Whether we want to call it management or manipulation, humans have always impacted their surroundings, beginning with early man eliminating large mammals and setting fires to hunt or clear land for agriculture. Pretty thoughtless in the past and just as much today.

In this particular case, however, I don't think you give enough credit to those who have already tried a multitude of other approaches and are now left with this one. If it doesn't move the needle, then at least it further advances other measures that people are less willing to consider today

Yes of course, anything that is part of an ecosystem influences it and nearly all, if not all, try to maximize the benefit of it in the most efficient way possible. Meaning most living things do not consciously consider long term impacts of their influence. That is how it should work. Problem is we as a species have been extraordinarily successful at doing so and the planet will not be able to sustain us long ripping through resources at the rate we do. We have to make some tough, maybe illogical decisions or as I mentioned earlier, the earth will make it for us in a very uncomfortable way.

As far as this situation, I agree this is what we are left with and is the action we should be taking. I also understand other things have been tried and failed and you are right, if this doesn’t move the needle, maybe it pushes us further in the direction we need to go. However, at least in the back of our heads, we all know we need to go further for a real impact and it still doesn’t change the fact that it sucks that it’s come to this.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
From a "blame" standpoint there's no question humans are 100% responsible. The problem is factoring in "fairness", which is what the Disney-distorted general public will do. Unfortunately fairness doesn't matter at this point with genetically distinct runs going extinct. Basically we've created an extremely unnatural situation that the sea lions are taking extreme advantage of. As pointed out already, analogous to rodents eating the last kernels of seed corn.

Beyond that, I think an argument can be made that allowing sea lions to hunt in an artificial environment, where the predator/prey balance is tipped so excessively against their prey, is in a way, "unfair" to the sea lions themselves. At least in the sense they are under-utilizing their highly evolved predatory capabilities. Possibly to the point they might lose the ability to successfully hunt in non-artificial environments. Maybe that's a stretch to say with abundant fish stocks. But given the reality of current fishery trends, allowing the status quo isn't exactly setting them up for success with slim pickings on a level (natural) playing field.

Bottom line these are extremely intelligent animals, which on one hand makes this all the more difficult. On the other, that intelligence is also why they will learn, very quickly, that hunting anywhere near the dams is a bad idea.
 

Smalma

Active Member
Wonder how many folks would have "mixed feelings" if the sea lion management paradigm was used for the wild salmonids of the region?

By way of background in 2014 (the latest estimate I could find) the population of
California sea lions number 257,600 animals and over the previous 30 years that number was growing at a rate of better than 6%/year. Under the marine mammal protection act before allowing the target take of species NMFS is required to determined the "Potential Biological Removal (PBR)" level. Under some pretty conservative procedures the PBR was calculated to be 14,000 animals.

This recent decision would add a potential average of 108 additional California sea lions per year; a tiny fraction of the total population. The decision would also limit the total take of sea lions in all areas to 10% of the PBR or 1,4000 animals or about 0.5% of the population.

Suspect under such management there would be very little fishing that might impact a wild salmonid population. Hey maybe that is the model WDFW is apply to the State's steelhead.

Curt
 

girlfisher

Active Member
And after we "manage" yet another species by causing their demise the Salmon will continue to make their way north out of the Globally warmed southern waters of WA and Oregon.
 

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
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

Prior to 1972 one of the natural predators of sea lions and seals were commercial fishermen. I am not "touchy, feely" and have thought for years since the time of Hershel in the Ballard Locks that sea lions needed to be cropped. Also did not enjoy watching sea lions tossing sturgeon around and eating the good parts. That was from the Columbia.
 

Shad

Active Member
The sea lions have never taken more salmon than they need. Can't say the same for us; we take too many every year.

If we do need to cull sea lions to protect salmon obstructed by dams (looks like we do), it's not the sea lions' fault. If we don't change our harvest practices, we can kill every pinniped swimming, and the salmon will still go extinct.

In other words, if we want a future with fish and wildlife in it, we need to learn to manage ourselves.
 

gt

Active Member
The sea lions have never taken more salmon than they need. Can't say the same for us; we take too many every year.

If we do need to cull sea lions to protect salmon obstructed by dams (looks like we do), it's not the sea lions' fault. If we don't change our harvest practices, we can kill every pinniped swimming, and the salmon will still go extinct.

In other words, if we want a future with fish and wildlife in it, we need to learn to manage ourselves.
i suggest you scroll up and read Rob's succinct post, says it all.
 

girlfisher

Active Member
Does killing abundant but protected wildlife to help other, more vulnerable protected wildlife represent good, scientific, and ethical wildlife management, or does it represent an attempt to avoid taking action on more important, but politically difficult, causes of a species’ decline at the expense of the targeted animals?

In many of these cases, the animals and birds that agencies chose to cull were not the root cause of the threatened species’ decline.

In Washington and Oregon, wild salmon and steelhead runs declined precipitously in the first half of the twentieth century and their populations have never fully recovered since. Currently, 13 Columbia River basin stocks of wild Pacific salmon and steelhead are listed under the ESA.

The multiple impacts of hydropower dams run by the US Army Corps of Engineers on the Columbia and Snake rivers are among the key causes declining of fish populations. Dams block passage of these fish to and from their riverine spawning and rearing habitat and the Pacific Ocean. At dams where fish passage is not provided, this blockage is permanent. According to the Northwest Power and Conservation Panel, more than 55 percent of the spawning and rearing habitat once available to wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin is permanently blocked by dams. At dams like Bonneville, many ocean-bound juvenile fish – sometimes as much as 90 percent of a run – are killed by dam turbines as they swim downstream.

Sea lions weren’t the initial culprits, and even now they are hardly the only, or even the worst, offenders when it comes to salmon mortality.

The Wild Fish Conservancy program, estimates that just over 2 percent of wild Chinook passing through Bonneville dam each year are eaten by sea lions, compared to a 22 percent mortality associated with the Columbia River dam system.
 

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