Sea Lion Defense Brigade

Sea lion traps on the Columbia River at the Bonneville Dam

by Thomas Sutherland / Sea Lion Defense Brigade

The lethal removal of sea lions from the Columbia/ Willamette Rivers will unfortunately commence March 15 – June 2014. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (s)120 The state of Oregon has the athority to use lethal means to remove sea lions from their natural habittat for the crime of eating to many salmon and steelhead.

Sea lions are eating between one and four percent of the spring salmon run, the government has permitted fisheries in the river to kill up to 17 percent of these same spawning fish. The government also concluded that 7 to 16 percent of adult fish are killed by the dams they must navigate. Yet they say sea lions are the problem. Killing sea lions will not change the future for the salmon.

The Sea Lion Defense Brigade is on the front lines of this battle with the state Fish and Wildlife Service to bring this dark, archaic, practice of predator removal into to the light of the eyes of the world. “It is also important to protect these animals because they are a key stone species in the region.” says a seasoned volunteer for the Sea Lion Defense Brigade. “One reason out of many reasons of why we should protect these amazing, intelligent, fascinating, highly social animals is because this river is their rightful home, and it is simply not their fault the salmon populations have decreased”. The sea lions and salmon are an important part of our bio-regions history and ecological river health. They have an ancient predator prey relationship that has helped both species to be genetically stronger and protect biodiversity for over ten thousand years.

There are only 65,000 Steller sea lions left in the world! There are almost 4 million people in Oregon, 6 million people in Washington State and 159,728 people in Idaho. There is a lot of commercial pressure to sell more fish for sport and profit.

Their goals for this season include finding ways, means, and creative loopholes to stop the lethal removal program, keeping animals out of traps in two locations — Astoria & Bonneville Dam, community bridge building supported by honesty, tolerance, & compassion for all species on the rivers of Cascadia, and observe and track animals on the river, and keep state and federal agencies accountable, transparent and engaged with citizen input and concern for the scapegoated sea lions in their rightful home.

This is a call to action for anyone in the local area to come out and be involved with saving these wonderful animals. You can contact SLDB through email at sealiondefensebrigade[at]gmail[dot]com and also on facebook.



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