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Feds OK killing of sea lions in Columbia River

Thu., March 15, 2012, 11:49 a.m.

SEATTLE — The federal government has decided it is OK to resume killing California sea lions that eat threatened and endangered salmon at Bonneville Dam.

NOAA Fisheries Service said today that Washington, Idaho and Oregon can trap and kill up to 92 sea lions annually for the next four years. But the agency expects only 25 to 30 sea lions will actually be killed.

Since 2008, Oregon and Washington have killed dozens of sea lions that feed on salmon migrating upriver to spawn in the spring as they hit the bottleneck of fish ladders over Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River east of Portland.

The Humane Society won a court order stopping the killing in 2010, but this decision allows it to resume.

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