“They eat fish––kill ‘em!”
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1997:
Sea lions had a rough fourth week of March:
In New Zealand, fisheries minister John Luxton
finally closed the Auckland Islands squid season on March
25, four days after he was advised that observed accidental
killings of endangered Hooker’s sea lions had reached 34.
Projected to the squid fleet as a whole, the indicated toll was
102, significantly more than the 73 sea lion deaths permitted
under the Fisheries Act.
In Peru, the Peruvian fisheries ministry announced
it was considering a “pilot program” to allow fishers to kill
up to 60 sea lions who allegedly tear nets, and export their
genitals to the Asian aphrodisiac market.
Finally, on March 28, the U.S. National Marine
Fisheries Service issued an unprecedented recommendation to
Congress that the Marine Mammal Protection Act be amended
to authorize killing sea lions who eat endangered
California, Oregon, and Washington salmon. The recommendation
marks the first time NMFS has formally agreed
with the fishing industry and Washington state officials that
as the NMFS document reportedly puts it, “There are too
many sea lions and not enough salmon in Pacific waters.”
The sea lion population is actually still far below
the level of about 200 years ago, before either commercial
sea lion hunting or commercial salmon fishing and logging
alongside salmon spawning streams began.
Copies of the NMFS West Coast Pinniped Report
are available from William Stelle Jr., Administrator, NMFS
Northwest Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, BIN C15700,
Seattle, WA 98115. Comments are due by June 26.
A related Draft Environmental Assessment on
Preventing California Sea Lion Foraging and Predation on
Salmonids at the Willamette Falls Fish Passage Facility, is
available from NMFS official Joe Scordino, 206-526-6143.