Mixed Feeling About Killing Sea Lions

luv2fly2

Active Member
I find it a little ironic that folks who participate in a bloodsport like fly fishing that has enjoyed the introduction of invasive species (see Trout Culture) all over the world are kvetching about culling a few sea lions that have grown fat and sassy in the absence of predators and are having a deleterious effect on anadromous fish stocks that are on the verge of extinction. It's not the answer to the problem, but it's part of the solution. As @Salmo_g has said, the genie is out of the bottle and it ain't going back. We have negatively impacted, and in some cases irreparably destroyed, most, if not all ecosystems on the earth. What we are left with is trying to mitigate what we have done. Our desire to have sport fishing has done far more damage than this initiative, and this might actually have a positive impact.
Sea
 

Richard E

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.

No mixed feelings here. If they need any help dispatching sea lions, I am available...
 

JE

Active Member
What would happen to deer populations if hunting (lethal removal) was not allowed?
The majority of natural resource management is what I refer to as “whoops we shouldn’t have done that” management. So many interconnected ecosystem variables that are overlooked mostly due to greed and introduction of exotic species.

Now we are having to deal with slogging through the aftermath of habitat loss and socio economic / political variables that make it really tough to help historic native members of ecosystems.

This is why it is so important to protect the native ecosystems that remain relatively intact.

I know an old lady who swallowed a fly...
 

speedbird49

Active Member
A picture at the locks’ visitor center from 1985 shows a glossy, fat sea lion labeled Herschel. His mouth is agape while he swallows an equally pinguid steelhead. At nearly half a tonne, he looks like he doesn’t care what you think about him. He looks like the Notorious B.I.G., ready to take on the west coast, gobbling through fish like a rapper blows through money.
My favorite quote from this article I appreciated
 

Sportsman

Active Member
My favorite quote from this article I appreciated
Your stupid enough to actually believe 'Herschel' was a "single" predator. We shot those fuckers before you were born, but bastards have a lot of descendants. Shoot one and you don't see them for at least another day, but that was only if they got in our net.
 
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nwbobber

Active Member
Transient Orca populations likely crashed long ago when seals were hunted nearly out of existence, and as they do not exactly reproduce like rabbits they are on a long path to reestablish their population to healthy levels. It is hard to say as they have only been recognized as a separate population since around 1980. It is estimated that at present they are increasing by 4% per year, and that they number in total about 500 animals. It is also estimated that they consume about 2% of the pinnipeds in the salish sea annually, so they are not quite keeping up. The point is that for this natural predator to be any help in balancing the population of seals and sea lions, managers have got to be careful not to reduce their food supply(marine mammals) too much. On the other hand, since they are not preying enough to keep an overpopulation of pinnipeds in check, we will need to do something. This isn't new, but unfortunately the marine mammals act was not written as a management tool, it was created to protect cute furry brown eyed animals that people get all emotional about, and that has prevented almost any intervention up until very recently.
Bull sharks and White sharks are known to prey on seals, but virtually all shark populations have plummeted to extremely low levels, and are not likely to recover, as the people responsible seem unwilling to change their behavior. The larger sharks only produce two to ten pups every other year, for about half of their life. So if people stop catching them in nets and harvesting them for their fins it will be a long road to reestablish healthy populations.
Another thing to be aware of is that it seems like at least 20% of the seals and sea lions researchers have looked at have cancer, and although they don't definitively know the cause, there is speculation that PCB's and DDT could be a factor. Transient orcas are also known to have severely high levels of these chemicals in their bodies. With the damage that can be done by unwise politicians to our clean water regulations, I worry that boosting orca populations may have further challenges.
Personally I am ashamed of the mistakes the human species has made in the abuse of the once productive environment we live in. My Dad spent his whole life working in the pulp and paper industry, he was a good, honest man. There existed a culture in that industry that justified what they were doing no matter how ill advised, and there were mistakes made that they didn't know were mistakes until it was far too late. He always believed they were doing the best they could to protect the environment, and I believe he was sincere. If you talk to a logger of my generation, they will tell you they spent half of their career logging to the banks of the creeks and cleaning out all the wood, and the second half with buffers they can't understand and leaving the wood in the streams. I am confident that humans still don't know what they are doing, and we will know how bad the mistakes we are making are years after we make them. And then we will have to try to do something about it, even if it is likely that we will still miss the mark.
 

speedbird49

Active Member
Your stupid enough to actually believe 'Herschel' was a "single" predator. We shot those fuckers before you were born, but bastards have a lot of descendants. Shoot one and you don't see them for at least another day, but that was only if they got in our net.
You sound like a wonderful person to be around. The quote was funny to me. Hence why I shared it. The article as I am sure you will see when you sober up in the morning is referring to a single SPECIES of predator.
Every interaction I have had in the real world involving fishing has either been exceptionally wonderful or exceptionally unexplainably awful. I didn’t expect that to be the same case on this website

My thoughts on sea lion removal are that salmon and sea lions have coexisted for longer than they have not. What is it that caused them to no longer coexist? From my understanding, it’s the dams forcing salmon to stack up. And if I am not mistaken, aren’t transient orca populations also lower?
Most experiments in adding or removing a species into an eco system that I am aware of ended up disastrously. I’m concerned that 50 years in the future, sea lion population destruction will carry with it even more unforeseen negative effects to the ecosystem.
 
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JayB

Active Member
You sound like a wonderful person to be around. The quote was funny to me. Hence why I shared it. The article as I am sure you will see when you sober up in the morning is referring to a single SPECIES of predator.
Every interaction I have had in the real world involving fishing has either been exceptionally wonderful or exceptionally unexplainably awful. I didn’t expect that to be the same case on this website

My thoughts on sea lion removal are that salmon and sea lions have coexisted for longer than they have not. What is it that caused them to no longer coexist? From my understanding, it’s the dams forcing salmon to stack up. And if I am not mistaken, aren’t transient orca populations also lower?
Most experiments in adding or removing a species into an eco system that I am aware of ended up disastrously. I’m concerned that 50 years in the future, sea lion population destruction will carry with it even more unforeseen negative effects to the ecosystem.

I agree with you when it comes to tampering with ecosystems, but I think we have to face the facts that a) dams and other obstacles that impair fish passage constitute an intervention in the ecosystem that benefits sea-lions at the expense of salmon, b) humans hunting sea-lions constituted part of the ecological balance on the Pacific coast for several thousand years, and c) sea-lions are flourishing and the salmon population is collapsing.

When I look at factors a, b, and c I think we have to consider interventions like eliminating or dramatically reducing the river-specialist populations of pinnipeds, at least in situations where dams/locks artificially impair fish passage. I'd gladly let tribes accomplish this via the resumption of this aspect of their heritage, but I doubt they'll do so because the PR/political costs to them would vastly outweigh any gain they'll make from increased fish harvests or the sale of marine-mammal products. At least in some circles, most if not all of the rhapsodizing about natives as the cosmically attuned stewards of nature's harmony would take a hit when the first Youtube videos of a sea-lion cull started making the rounds.
 

speedbird49

Active Member
I agree with you when it comes to tampering with ecosystems, but I think we have to face the facts that a) dams and other obstacles that impair fish passage constitute an intervention in the ecosystem that benefits sea-lions at the expense of salmon, b) humans hunting sea-lions constituted part of the ecological balance on the Pacific coast for several thousand years, and c) sea-lions are flourishing and the salmon population is collapsing.

When I look at factors a, b, and c I think we have to consider interventions like eliminating or dramatically reducing the river-specialist populations of pinnipeds, at least in situations where dams/locks artificially impair fish passage. I'd gladly let tribes accomplish this via the resumption of this aspect of their heritage, but I doubt they'll do so because the PR/political costs to them would vastly outweigh any gain they'll make from increased fish harvests or the sale of marine-mammal products. At least in some circles, most if not all of the rhapsodizing about natives as the cosmically attuned stewards of nature's harmony would take a hit when the first Youtube videos of a sea-lion cull started making the rounds.
Do we have any data on what human predation of sea lions was like before industrialization? That would be a good baseline of what sort of population reduction we should conduct. I would gladly buy Native produced Sea Lion products
 

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