Target: Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Eileen Sobeck
Goal: End the sanctioned killing of sea lions
Six California sea lions were killed outside the Bonneville Dam in a misguided attempt to boost salmon numbers. Lethal predation of salmon is completely natural behavior, and has nowhere near the impact on salmon numbers as government-allowed fishing does. Nonetheless, sea lions that prey on salmon will be euthanized via lethal injection under a government permit. Demand that National Marine Fisheries Service end this needless killing.
Salmon numbers have been severely impacted by overfishing and human development, especially when dams block their spawning routes and impede their passage to spawning grounds. Introduced non-native species like walleye—typically maintained for sport fishing, a questionable environmental practice—prey on young salmon and can consume millions every year. Recreational and tribal fishing accounts for twelve percent of salmon, a quote deemed sustainable. In contrast, salmon predation by sea lions at Bonneville Dam averaged out to less than one percent over a period of three years, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Yet sea lions are scapegoated under this new policy, and the permit allows officials to kill up to 92 sea lions a year. This is simply not the right approach to salmon conservation, nor is it justifiable. Sea lion predation accounts for a very small percentage of salmon loss: it is human activity that is responsible for the majority of overfishing. Nor will removing these sea lions actually reduce predation: new sea lions will simply come into the area.
The government cannot continue this course of action. Killing sea lions will not help salmon recovery: they are not the main culprit in losses, and attention should be given instead to reducing human impact, not killing animals for behaving normally. Sign the petition to ensure that the government protects both the salmon and sea lion population by regulating human interaction with the environment.
Dear Assistant Administrator Eileen Sobeck,
Six sea lions were killed at Bonneville Dam for preying on salmon under a license granted by the National Marine Fisheries Service. They are among the first sea lions targeted for doing what comes naturally to them in a misguided and unethical attempt to boost salmon numbers. This course of action is unjustified and completely ineffective. Not only will it result in the needless killing of marine life, but it also fails in addressing the real threats toward salmon.
Human activity is by far the worst culprit in declining salmon numbers, yet a government quota allows recreational and tribal fishing to take up to twelve percent of salmon. Salmon predation by sea lions accounts for less than one percent, and the salmon runs affected by sea lions have been found to be stable.
I demand that the National Marine Fisheries end this killing immediately, and turn instead to addressing the true reasons for decline. We are scapegoating a species that has little impact on salmon runs for no justifiable reason. Sea lions are not at fault, and killing them only makes way for more animals to enter the area. This plan will not protect salmon numbers on a significant level, and ignores the real and severe impact that human activity has.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Alexdi at English Wikipedia via Wikimedia Commons