Tag Archives: sea lions

Sea Lions, Other Marine Mammals Discovering South Sound Anchovy Boom

A large suite of marine mammals has discovered Deep South Sound’s new bounty of anchovies, schools of which are now so numerous they’re routinely observed during regular aerial surveys. For three months this past winter, WDFW biologist Steve Jeffries observed hundreds of California sea lions, as well as harbor seals, harbor porpoises and long-beaked common dolphins feeding on a massive pod of the skinny, silvery baitfish in Case Inlet north of Olympia. Anchovy populations have boomed in these waters since 2015 and the Blob’s warm waters. What’s more, the pinnipeds and cetaceans appeared to be teaming up on them. >click to read<20:01

Protected sea lions causing trouble at Northwest ports

A big rebound in the sea lion population along the West Coast in recent years has created a constant battle to wrangle the protected animals. They’re smart and fun to watch from a safe distance, but also noisy, smelly and proving to be a headache for some coastal marinas.  “It’s a free zoo kind of, just don’t pet ‘em!” observed Dennis Craig of Olympia,,, The flip side of these flippered fish fiends can be seen in the mounting bill to the marina, including the cost of busted docks, broken electric stanchions and lost business. >click to read<09:05

Salmon-eating sea lions targeted at Columbia River dam

More California sea lions preying on imperiled salmon in the Columbia River below a hydroelectric project on the Oregon-Washington border are being killed under a revised policy, federal authorities said Friday. The National Marine Fisheries Service made public reduced criteria for removing sea lions at Bonneville Dam about 145 miles (235 kilometers) from the Pacific Ocean. The new guidelines that went into effect April 17 permit any California sea lion seen in the area on five occasions or seen eating a fish to be put on a list for lethal removal. >click to read<10:57

BC Fisherman touches off a “firecracker”, Media blows it’s mind!

Federal fishery officials are investigating after a video was posted to Facebook featuring a man throwing a small explosive toward a group of sea lions in the Strait of Georgia. The clip displays commercial fisherman, Allan Marsden lighting the fuse of a ‘bear banger’ — a small explosive device used to scare bears or other animals — before tossing it into the water. Marsden says he used the bear banger to disperse the sea lions — not to kill them. (If you want to see killing, look at the comments at the article. They’re killing me! lol! ) >Video, click to read<14:09

Pressure mounts for a seal harvest in B.C.

Pressure is mounting for a commercial seal harvest in British Columbia after the United States announced it will allow the killing of up to 920 sea lions a year in the Pacific North West to protect endangered wild fish stocks. The American lethal removal program, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump last month, for the first time allows American native tribes to kill sea lions that are threatening endangered salmon and steelhead runs to extinction. Government authorities in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are already allowed to lethally ,,, >click to read<

Oregon starts killing fish-eating sea lions

Oregon wildlife officials have started killing California sea lions that threaten a fragile and unique type of trout in the Willamette River, a body of water that’s miles inland from the coastal areas where the massive carnivorous aquatic mammals usually congregate to feed. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife obtained a federal permit in November to kill up to 93 California sea lions annually below Willamette Falls south of Portland to protect the winter run of the fish that begin life as rainbow trout but become steelhead when they travel to the ocean. >click to read<15:57

Senate Bill 3119 – Senate passes bill making it easier to kill sea lions

A bill that would make it easier to kill sea lions that feast on imperiled salmon in the Columbia River has cleared the U.S. Senate. State wildlife managers say rebounding numbers of sea lions are eating more salmon than ever and their appetites are undermining billions of dollars of investments to restore endangered fish runs. Senate Bill 3119, which passed Thursday by unanimous consent, would streamline the process for Washington, Idaho, Oregon and several Pacific Northwest Native American tribes to capture and euthanize potentially hundreds of sea lions found in the river east of Portland, Oregon. >click to read<09:17

‘Get the balance back’: Amid seal and sea lion boom, group calls for hunt on B.C. coast

For the first time in decades, a small-scale seal hunt is taking place on Canada’s West Coast — all in the hopes that it leads to the establishment of a commercial industry to help control booming seal and sea lion populations and protect the region’s fish stocks.,,, The hunting of seals and sea lions — which are collectively known as pinnipeds — has been banned on the West Coast for more than 40 years. It’s one reason their numbers have exploded along the entire Pacific coastline of North America.,,, Fisheries scientist Carl Walters, a professor emeritus with UBC, believes culling the regions sea lions and seals could dramatically boost salmon stocks. He points to numerous studies showing how pinniped populations have been increasing, while salmon numbers have been plummeting. >click to read<17:14

NMFS approves plan for state officials to kill sea lions at Willamette Falls

Protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the state needed federal approval to take lethal action against the pinnipeds, which have been observed gorging themselves on endangered fish at the foot of the iconic waterfall. “This is good news for the native runs of salmon and steelhead in the Willamette River,” said Shaun Clements, a policy analyst for the state on the sea lion issue. “Before this decision, the state’s hands were tied as far as limiting sea lion predation on the Willamette River.” >click to read<22:52

Should Oregon Kill Sea Lions to Save the Salmon?

Used to be, they’d show up at Willamette Falls around late November—beefy males here to bulk up and loll on the docks. Call it sea lion winter break; time off from California’s Channel Islands rookeries, beaucoup steelhead to eat, zero problems. (No pups, no ladies, no predators.) When it was time to head back south, a 400-pound sea lion might have doubled in size, having chowed down on, at minimum, three 15-pound Pacific Northwest salmonids a day. >click to read<19:47

The clock is ticking,,, Endangered Salmon Prevention Act to remove problem sea lions faces time crunch

A bill making its way through the U.S. Senate would allow the states and tribal interests to remove problem sea lions in the Columbia River, including by lethal force, to reduce predation on endangered salmon and steelhead. However, the timeline for the passage of this legislation is growing very short.,, The bill was passed out of committee last week and will be addressed by the full senate soon, but there is a time constraint. If the bill is not passed before Congress adjourns for the year, its future is uncertain. SB 3119 represents the best effort to date to amend the MMPA since its inception to allow stronger management of problem sea lions. It specifically targets animals that take up positions at pinch-points where salmon are forced to concentrate and are easy prey for the pinnipeds. >click to read<10:36

Congress must choose threatened salmon over sea lions

State, federal and local governments have spent too much time and money restoring fish runs in the Columbia River Basin to let those efforts go to waste. The U.S. House recognized this reality last month by passing legislation to make it easier to kill sea lions that feast on threatened salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Now, the Senate must step up and push the bill through to the finish line. Northwest senators must be unified in their support for this common-sense measure, which aims to safeguard the billions of dollars invested in preserving fish that are listed under the Endangered Species Act.>click to read<

Sympathy to new state Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director

Dear Mr. Kelly Susewind, Allow me to express my deepest sympathy. .,, You said it was an honor to serve the people of the state of Washington. And you want to “deliver the results they deserve.” That’s scary.,, The orcas are starving from a lack of salmon. So, we shut down the salmon hatcheries and protect the exploding population of sea lions, seals, cormorants and mergansers that eat as many salmon as the orca and humans put together. The surviving salmon are forced to swim through the thousands of tons of pollutants in a chemical stew that we dump into Puget Sound every year, whose ingredients include but are not limited to sewage, drugs, pesticides, herbicides, personal care products and industrial chemicals, while ignoring the impacts on fish, orcas and humans. Pat Neal  >click to read<14:59

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife names Kelly Susewind new director – >click to read<

In their battle against sea lions, fish are losing – Support The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Protection Act

The tally doesn’t look good for steelhead and salmon on the Columbia River. Last year, sea lions devoured an estimated 9 percent of steelhead and 5 percent of spring chinook trying to make their way upstream past Bonneville Dam. Even more disconcerting, an estimated 24 percent of chinook disappeared between the mouth of the Columbia and the dam. In other words, there is a battle going on in the Columbia, and the sea lions are winning. That points out the need for Congress to pass a bill sponsored by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground. >click to read<12:53

Sea lions continue to eat endangered fish

All the time, money and sacrifice to improve salmon and steelhead passage in the Willamette River won’t mean a thing unless wildlife managers can get rid of sea lions feasting on the fish at Willamette Falls. That was the message Tuesday from Shaun Clements, senior policy adviser for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who met at the falls with Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, and Suzanne Kunse, district director for U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. >click to read<17:51

Congress must act — again — to save salmon from hungry sea lions

Government agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually trying to preserve threatened salmon and steelhead runs in the Columbia River Basin. Yet in recent years, a growing population of hungry sea lions has jeopardized all of that investment and hard work.,, Congress needs to safeguard the public’s investment in conserving these vulnerable salmon and steelhead runs along the Columbia. Republicans and Democrats must come together this year to pass legislation making it easier to lethally remove some of the sea lions. That will mean relaxing a section of the 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act,,, >Click to read<11:34

Fishing for solutions through legislation

The United States Congress is currently considering legislation that could affect the management of fisheries in the Northwest and directly impact local fishing. One of the bills being considered addresses the issue of sea lion predation on endangered stocks of salmon and steelhead. Another would effectively reverse a recent judge’s decision to increase spill at Columbia River and Snake River dams to improve downstream migration. There are also two bills that would amend the Magnuson-Stevens act, which regulates ocean fisheries. The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, or H.R. 2083, would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972., H.R. 3144, H.R. 2023, H.R. 200 >click to read<09:00

Save salmon; kill sea lions

Another spring, another much anticipated migration of “Kings of the Columbia,” our Pacific Northwest’s most revered salmonoid, the chinook salmon. Or perhaps not. At one-time chinook and their cousins migrated upstream by the hundreds of thousands. No longer. Salmon and steelhead are on the fast track to becoming endangered species. The Columbia River has its problems when considering fish migrations. The dams, commercial transportation, irrigation demands, you name it. These problems are solvable, but it will take time. There is now one glaring problem that can be simply and quickly resolved. >click to read<15:05

ODFW gives up on trapping Willamette sea lions

State officials have decided to give up on trapping Willamette River sea lions and transition operations to Bonneville, where the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife already has federal authorization to trap and kill sea lions. “It’s disheartening given what’s happening in the Willamette, but we don’t have enough staff to cover both locations so we’re moving to a place where we can be more effective,” said Bryan Wright, head of ODFW’s Marine Mammal Program, in a press release this week. In the absence of federal approval to kill California sea lions at Willamette Falls, ODFW attempted a stop-gap program of capturing and relocating sea lions this spring. >click to read<12:19

View to a Kill: Galápagos Sea Lions Team Up to Capture Huge Tuna

In the Pacific, off the Galápagos Islands’ coast, a clever ploy leads to a hearty feast. Sea lions cannot typically catch massive yellowfin tuna—which can swim at speeds of around 40 miles per hour. But a few fishermen recently reported a peculiar hunting behavior among the Galápagos dwellers: Using teamwork, the sea lions have been chasing and trapping the tuna in coves along the archipelago’s ragged coast. Photographer Tui De Roy, a Galápagos resident, recently captured this behavior in a series of striking images. >photo’s, click to read<09:22

Are Excluder Devices Saving Sea Lions or Covering Up Their Deaths?

A new study blames the fishing industry for the New Zealand sea lion’s decline, but some scientists have doubts.,,, To cut down on collateral damage, some fisheries employ excluder devices, special nets that allow unwanted animals to escape without forfeiting target fish. Australian fishers use seal excluder devices, or SEDs, while turtle excluder devices (TEDs) allow reptiles to pass through American trawls. click here to read the story 11:21

Dwindling winter steelhead are on their own again at Willamette Falls

With the first four dozen winter steelhead counted at Willamette Falls and scattered early catches reported in both the Clackamas and Sandy rivers, Oregon scientists, fish managers, anglers and others must helplessly hold their figurative breath. Sea lions, which chewed through as much as 25 percent of the dismal return of 2016-17 steelhead, pretty much have free rein this winter to repeat the carnage. “The impact, if left un-managed, will be pretty devastating,” said Shaun Clements, senior fish division policy advisor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. click here to read the story 16:11

Oregon Eyes Killing Sea Lions to Save Steelhead Trout

Fish managers scrambling to gain approval to kill dozens of California sea lions feasting on threatened winter steelhead trout got a bump this week from a study blaming the creatures for taking food from orcas. But some say the effort is a misguided attempt to scapegoat natural predators for the human-caused decline of their prey. In 1999, about 15,000 winter steelhead passed Willamette Falls. In 2016, scientists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife counted just 512.,,  “We’re looking at a threat of extinction posed by sea lions,” Shaun Clements, the agency’s senior fish policy advisor, told the Fish and Wildlife Commission at a meeting in September. click here to read the story 08:04

Endangered orcas compete with seals, sea lions for salmon

Harbor seals, sea lions and some fish-eating killer whales have been rebounding along the Northeast Pacific Ocean in recent decades. But that boom has come with a trade-off: They’re devouring more of the salmon prized by a unique but fragile population of endangered orcas. Competition with other marine mammals for the same food may be a bigger problem than fishing, at least in recent years, for southern resident killer whales that spend time in Washington state’s Puget Sound, a new study suggests. click here to read the story 07:43

Report: Sea lions push Willamette River steelhead to brink of extinction

State wildlife officials say wild steelhead in the upper Willamette Basin could go extinct in coming years because of sea lions feasting on the iconic fish at Willamette Falls.  The Statesman Journal reported in June that wild steelhead numbers hit all-time lows this year due to poor ocean conditions, historic drought and the long-term effects of habitat loss. But in an explosive report made public Monday, officials say sea lion predation could tip the scales toward extinction in rivers including the Santiam, Molalla and Calapooia, all Willamette tributaries. “We’ve reached the point where, unless we take some action, we may condemn this run to extinction,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, senior scientist and fish policy advisor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We need to act now or extinction may be our legacy.” Video, click here to read the story 21:33

Oregon, Washington and tribes again take aim at sea lions in dispute over salmon

Congress is once again considering giving Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife officials and regional tribes broader authority to kill sea lions below the Bonneville Dam, an effort supporters say is necessary to protect 13 endangered species of salmon and steelhead. But unlike previous attempts to rein in the marine mammals, which are protected under federal law, the legislation goes beyond killing the dozens that converge each spring on the fish logjam at the Columbia River dam 145 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The bipartisan team behind the bill — Reps. Jaime Herrera-Beutler, R-Washington, and Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon — want to go much further. They also want to make it easier to kill California sea lions found on the Willamette River and its tributaries, and anywhere on the Columbia River east of Interstate 205. If the legislation is approved, as many as 920 sea lions could be killed annually, compared with 92 under current law. click here to read the story 08:54

Researchers probing marine mammal genitals, copulation with simulated sex!

Dara Orbach is probably one of very few people in the world who regularly gets sent dolphin vaginas in the mail. “The boxes don’t usually smell very good when they arrive,” says Orbach, a post-doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University and a research assistant at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The marine mammologist has spent the last few years studying the genitals of whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and seals to understand how they fit together during sex. It’s not an easy thing to do. First, she has to actually obtain the animals’ vaginas and penises. Orbach has a permit to receive the reproductive organs of marine mammals that have died of natural causes after a necropsy has taken place. It has taken her years, but at its peak, her collection included about 140 specimens. Second, she has to figure out how the penises and vaginas interact in real life when, in fact, they’re lying inert and disembodied on her laboratory table. click here to read this story 12:30

Bi-Partisan Bill seeks to allow tribes to kill Columbia River sea lions

Some Northwest Indian tribes would be allowed to kill a limited number of sea lions that prey on endangered salmon in the Columbia River under a bill introduced in Congress. The bipartisan bill was introduced last weekend by U.S. House members Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Washington Republican, and Kurt Schrader, an Oregon Democrat. If passed, the bill would allow the Warm Springs, Umatilla, Yakama, and Nez Perce tribes to kill some sea lions that are decimating endangered salmon runs during their return from the ocean to inland spawning grounds. Currently only the states of Oregon, Washington and Idaho can kill sea lions along the river. “The spring chinook loss, coupled with the growing sea lion population, has placed us in an emergency situation,” said Leland Bill, chairman of the commission. Sea lion populations have surged since the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972. There were about 30,000 California sea lions when the act passed, but the population has since grown to over 300,000. click here to read the article 12:22

Sea lions moving into smaller streams – “They’re working on wild fish,”

In the past month or two, a few California (one Steller) sea lions have moved into the lower stretches of the Sandy River and as many as half-dozen (some say more) are devouring winter steelhead in the Clackamas River, as far up as Eagle Creek. Washington officials report sea lions prowling the lower Cowlitz, Lewis and Washougal rivers. And these aren’t just any winter steelhead tickling their palates. By this time of year, the earlier-arriving hatchery-origin steelhead run is largely finished, Todd Alsbury, department district fish biologist, told a group of sportfishing leaders in Clackamas. “They’re working on wild fish,” Alsbury said. “It could make Ballard Locks pale in comparison.” Remember Ballard Locks in Seattle? Apparently few, if any, real lessons were learned from the decimation of Lake Washington’s meager (2,000-3,000 fish) wild steelhead runs by Herschel and a handful of sea lions in the 1990s. Click here to read the article 14:12

Sea lions hinder salmon conservation

California and Steller sea lions took a bigger bite out of last year’s salmon run than in any previous year, according to a new federal report. 2015 saw a bigger run, with more than 239,000 chinook and steelhead migrating past Bonneville Dam. That year, the total number of salmon that sea lions ate was he largest ever recorded. The Army Corps of Engineers recorded more than 260 sea lions eating more than 10,000 fish from January to June 2015. The 2016 salmon run was far smaller, but the sea lions’ appetite for salmon didn’t shrink much. They still ate more than 9,500 fish, nearly 6 percent of the run. That’s the largest share of the run eaten by the large marine mammals since Army Corps scientists started watching 15 years ago. Read the rest here 12:43