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Lethal sea lion remove can resume on Columbia River, NOAA says

A sea lion eats a salmon in the Columbia River near Bonneville Dam in this April 24, 2008, photo. (Associated Press)
A sea lion eats a salmon in the Columbia River near Bonneville Dam in this April 24, 2008, photo. (Associated Press)

MARINE MAMMALS -- State's once again have a license to kill a few of the California sea lions that have learned to swim inland from the Pacific Ocean to ambush migrating salmon near Bonneville Dam.

NOAA’s Fisheries Service said today it is re-authorizing the states of Washington and Oregon to lethally remove specific California sea lions that congregate inland from  the Pacific Ocean just below the first dam on the Columbia River to eat adult salmon and steelhead swimming upriver to spawn.

Among those fish are salmon stocks that are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

“This is not an easy decision for our agency to make, but a thorough analysis shows that a small number of California sea lions preying on salmon and steelhead are having a significant effect on the ability of the fish stocks to recover,” said William W. Stelle Jr., Northwest regional administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

“Today’s authorization allows state fisheries and natural resource agencies to carefully remove California sea lions to reduce their effect on vulnerable fish species.” 




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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