Feds Authorize Killing Of Sea Lions - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Feds Authorize Killing Of Sea Lions

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - Washington and Oregon won authorization from a federal agency on Friday to kill sea lions eating endangered salmon at the Bonneville Dam, angering animal rights advocates.

The move marks the second time the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service has approved killing the sea lions, which travel up the Columbia River to eat salmon trying to pass the dam on their way to spawn.

The Humane Society of the United States fought the first authorization, in 2008, winning a ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that NOAA must explain why it allowed fishermen to catch the salmon but not sea lions.

The NOAA has said in response that it can limit the number and type of fish caught by the fishermen, but not so the indiscriminate sea lions.

"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," William Stelle, NOAA Fisheries Service Northwest regional administrator William Stelle said in a written statement.

Oregon and Washington may only remove sea lions known to be eating salmon and only 85 per year can be killed.

Sharon Young, marine mammal issues field director for the Humane Society, told Reuters the group was studying NOAA's order and may go back to court to challenge it again. >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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