Don't Blame Sea Lionsby Maria Garcia
The Daily Astorian, March 21, 2008
I have been doing some research about the sea lions and the issues they cause along the Columbia River as well as in the Bonneville Dam. Many of the articles I read accuse the sea lions of being one of the principal causes for the decrease in number of salmon, and many comments by people agree that sea lions should be killed to help save the salmon population from going to extinction.
I personally think that sea lions are not the ones to blame for this issue. Many other factors such as the fishing industry, poor fisheries and water management, and hydroelectric dams also have a very negative effect on salmon population.
I agree sea lions may be nuisance, and anger people with their presence on their docks and taking their fish, but they should not be entirely blamed for a problem that is actually caused primarily by man. I think that sea lions and salmon could easily co-exist as they had done from many years in the past if it were not for the intervention of man.
If people will condemn sea lions for eating the salmon, they first need to have in mind that man is the one who makes it easier for them to catch salmon, and in bigger quantities. According to a biologist from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the biggest consumption of salmon and other fish that sea lions get is in the dams; in this case we are talking about the Bonneville Dam, where some hundred sea lions get their big quantities of salmon.
Sea lions are not the problem. They are just easy to pick on and blame for the problem. I hope that people realize it and start figuring out the real cause and a true solution for the salmon declining.
Survival of Snake River Salmon & Steelhead data compiled by bluefish.org, July 2004
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