Three sea lions with gunshot wounds have been rescued and treated at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California.

The sea lions were rescued separately at points around the Bay Area by the center's veterinarian team. Two of the animals, sea lions they named "Bluegrass" and "Transom", each lost an eye after being shot in the face.

sea lion shot

A third sea lion named Usain had tiny BB's lodged in a rear flipper.

Staff at the center believe fishermen who encountered the animals while competing for the same fish may be responsible for some of the shootings.

Representatives of the bay area's fishing industry say they don't condone the shootings.

Since their rescue, Bluegrass and Transom, have been deemed healthy enough to return to the wild.

They were taken to Point Reyes National Seashore for release last week.