Sea lions taking bigger bite out of Columbia River sturgeon
FISHING — Steller sea lions are killing sturgeon at Bonneville Dam almost twice as fast this winter as in 2010, having taken at least 1,000 total since early January, according to a story by Allen Thomas of the Vancouver Columbian.
The first California sea lion was spotted at Bonneville Dam on Monday, said Robert Stansell, a Corps of Engineers biologist. The marine mammals also are ambushing salmon and steelhead at the dam.
The highest daily count of Steller sea lions was 21 on Jan. 26. Corps observers have documented at least 32 individual Stellers since Jan. 20. Twenty are confirmed as being seen in past years.
No hazing of the sea lions is occuring at Bonneville Dam.
Washington and Oregon officials are waiting for a “letter of authorization'' from the National Marine Fisheries Service before they are allowed to proceed with any sea lion management.