Tag Archives: sea lions

Sea lions throw a party on Cowichan Bay’s federal breakwater to feast on spawning salmon

Steller and California sea lions jostle for space, bark 24-7, and leave stinky feces on the breakwater. About 300 sea lions will climb onto the 182-metre-long concrete dock at one time during at the height of the season, said federal harbour manager Mark Mercer. “They are three layers deep out there.” The majority are males, he said, likening the event to a big bachelor party. Depending on species, males range from about 850 to 2,500 pounds. “Like I tell people: ‘What you see on the breakwater is literally the tip of the iceberg. That’s a tenth of what’s out there.’ >click to read< 12:29

Sea lions take big bite out of early salmon runs

Early runs of wild spring Chinook salmon returning to the Columbia River are bearing the brunt of sea lion attacks, a new study suggests. The fish arrive in early spring before sea lions have left for summer breeding grounds and when the pinniped population is especially high at the river’s mouth. These salmon see higher mortality rates compared to later runs and the numbers have started to climb even over prior years, corresponding with a growing number of sea lions recorded near Astoria. >click to read< 08:56

New “Gadget”? Underwater noisemaker to scare away seals at Ballard Locks

On a recent morning, after some acrobatics and horsing around, a seal cruising the locks suddenly took an all-business turn. When it resurfaced, it was with a mouth crammed full of coho. The Hiram Chittenden Locks, built more than 100 years ago, allow navigable access from the freshwater of Lake Washington and Lake Union to Puget Sound. But the locks also inadvertently created an attraction for seals. The concrete chute of the locks concentrates salmon, making easy pickings. As salmon runs have declined in Puget Sound, a range of methods has been tried over the years to shut down the buffet. Underwater firecrackers, pingers, even Fake Willy, a faux orca that used to be lowered into the channel in an attempt to scare off seals and sea lions. Now a new gadget is being tested at the locks, intended to startle seals to deter them. >click to leave< 20:20

Commercial skipper fined for throwing bear banger at sea lions

B.C. harvester Allan Marsden pleaded guilty in Courtenay Provincial Court to disturbing marine mammals under section 7.1(b) of the Marine Mammal Regulations. Marsden was fined $8,000 and prohibited from possessing explosives for the next three years. The March 2019 incident in the Strait of Georgia made headlines after a video of it surfaced on social media. The video prompted a lengthy investigation by fishery officers from the Georgia Basin North Conservation and Protection detachment out of Nanaimo. (I watched it again, and yes guys. it was awesome!) >video, click to read< 16:48

Environmentalists are dragging us back to the Dark Ages

In the early 1990s, our small group of Potlatch employees in cooperation with members of the Lewiston and Clarkston chambers of commerce were researching environmental claims that the lower Snake River dams were devastating salmon runs, when we learned about East Sand Island, a man-made island in the estuary of the Columbia River. The island was formed from dredging deposits in 1983 and by 1984, Caspian terns, cormorants and gulls had colonized the island and were feasting on salmon smolts. We thought: “Wow, this is an easy fix. Tear out a man-made island and save millions of endangered fish.” The environmentalists beat us to the punch. They filed in federal court to protect the island and the birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Now we have the largest nesting colony of these non-endangered birds in the world on a man-made island. by Marvin Dugger >click to read< 09:50

B.C. Herring fisherman charged with tossing a ‘bear banger’ to disperse group of sea lions last year

Herring fisherman Allen Marsden is facing three counts under the Fisheries Act and Explosives Act for tossing a small, explosive device known as a “bear banger” from his boat toward the crowd of animals on March 4, 2019. Fishers and Oceans Canada (DFO) confirmed the charges Wednesday but declined to comment further.,,, “We’re not out there trying to kill the sea lions. We’re not out there looking for sea lions. We’d rather if they weren’t here,” said Marsden. Marsden added the explosive was needed to ensure the safety of fishermen. He said he’d personally been bitten in the past. Video, (I cheered!) >click to read< 17:50

Fish farm owners say most salmon that escaped due to fish farm fire likely eaten by sea lions-Critics want farms phased out

Mowi Canada West downplayed threats to wild salmon stocks because of the number of sea lions feeding on the 21,000 non-native salmon held in pens there, CoastAlaska reported Thursday. Mowi Canada West’s fish farm off Robertson Island, north of Vancouver Island, caught fire Dec. 20. The fire has prompted critics of the industry to call for an end to this kind of farm fishing on the west coast. Phasing out net-pen fish farming in B.C. waters was a Liberal campaign promise in this year’s federal election. >click to read< 13:51

Salmon and steelhead Band-Aids

Here we go again putting a Band-Aid over a sucking chest wound. Ask anyone who spends time on Washington and Idaho salmon and steelhead waters why the salmon and steelhead are declining and you will get a variation of answers. They will range from sea lions to dams to nets to birds to commercial fishing. by Kelly M. Colliton, >click to read< 09:43

Cull! Plan Mulls Killing More Sea Lions to Save Salmon

Decades of efforts, including billions of dollars spent, to prevent the extinction of 13 species of Columbia River salmon and steelhead were stymied by the resurgence of gregarious mammals who themselves returned from the brink. Now, a new plan backed by Native American tribes and three states would attempt to protect the fish by killing more sea lions. >click to read< 08:54

West Coast fishermen have few options against sea lions

With the lights of Moss Landing, California, twinkling in the distance, Captain Porter McHenry stood on the top deck of the Merva W, a large  Commercial fishing boat. Ocean water sprayed his face and dampened his thick brown beard. A third-generation fisherman, McHenry employs a crew of three. In the dead of the night, his yellow rain jacket was briefly illuminated as he ignited the long wick of an orange firecracker and chucked it over the side of the boat into the waves. Seconds later, a bright flash and boom broke the sea of darkness. >Click to read<  09:10

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