Injunction Sought On Sea Lion Killings In Oregonby Jupiter Kalambakal
All Headline News, March 31, 2008
Portland, OR -- Local conservationist groups are exhausting legal measures to deter the killing of sea lions feasting on salmon at the Bonneville Dam.
The Humane Society of the United States filed a motion before a U.S. District Court on Friday seeking a permanent injunction. If the request is denied, the group said it would likely seek a temporary restraining order to be effective before Friday--when the capture of sea lions begins.
Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife will spearhead the sea lion eradication campaign beginning in April.
In January, the National Marine Fisheries Service gave permission to game managers in Washington and Oregon to start killing sea lions feeding on dwindling populations of migrating salmon near the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. The federal agency has decided that the sea lions are eating more than their share of endangered salmon by staking out the entrance to the fish ladders to catch unsuspecting schooling fish.
The states are allowed to kill up to 85 sea lions a year in the area until the feeding frenzy abates. The order encourages capturing the animals if possible and finding homes for them in aquariums and ocean theme parks, but said they can be culled after 48 hours if no homes are found.
Sea lions are protected under the 1972 Marine Mammals Protection Act. Populations have soared since then.
The sea lion population, once as low as around 1,000 during the 1930s. is thought to number about 240,000 today.
Survival of Snake River Salmon & Steelhead data compiled by bluefish.org, July 2004
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