Task Force Recommends Increasing Lethal Take of Sea Lions to Protect Endangered Salmon
Posted in Conservation

In 2008, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA") authorized Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to "lethally remove" individual sea lions that congregate below the Bonneville Dam and continue to eat listed salmon and steelhead after non-lethal deterrence methods prove unsuccessful.  Under the current program, after a sea lion is identified and trapped it is either transported to a new location or euthanized.  Earlier this month, however, a task force convened at NOAA's request recommended that the controversial program be liberalized, and that sea lions be shot on the spot as a visual deterrent to the remaining population.  The recommendations of the task force will now be considered by NOAA, and potentially incorporated into a new rule governing the program.

Although approximately 40 sea lions have been killed or removed since the initiation of the program, the United States Army Corps of Engineers reported that sea lion consumption of salmon and steelhead around Bonneville Dam grew from 3,846 in Spring 2007 to 5,095 in Spring 2010.

  • Benjamin Z. Rubin

    Ben Rubin is chair of Nossaman’s Environment & Land Use Group. Ben assists developers, public agencies, landowners and corporate clients on a variety of complex land use and environmental matters. He counsels clients on matters ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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