Sea Lion Status

Sea Lion Status

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
You might remember several years ago I talked with avid Oregon fisherman Rob Maxey about the extremely aggressive sea lion population in Oregon and Washington. Huge numbers of them praying on salmon and steelhead…even jumping into fishing boats to eat harvested fish. I called him for an update.

Honestly, things have been abated slightly. The feds and Washington and Oregon have been working together, jumping through all the hoops to lethally deal with problem sea lions. So the feds and Oregon and Washington have been working together and they've finally gotten approval legally through the court system to legally deal with problem sea lions. So they have actually trapped and killed and shot a number of sea lions below Bonneville and at the Willamette Falls. And so there really has been an improvement. But all you gotta do is shoot a dozen problem animals and the rest go away. The amount of money we've spent on that has been ridiculous. But the problem still does persist in some areas. Newport Bay has been ruined by the sea lions. They made a sea lion dock and they've pretty much wiped out most of the fishing in the bay. Can't even hardly crab the seals and sea lions follow your floats, go down the ropes, steal your bait, tear your pot apart.

And so that's really had a big impact on some of the populations. But it seems to be more localized in smaller bays and areas where they're allowed to remain, such as the docks and the East Mooring Basin in Hammond in Astoria. There was places the sea lions are still pretty big nuisance. Some improvement, better than none.

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