The governors of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington sent a letter to the House members of the Northwest Congressional delegation supporting federal legislation that would better control predation by sea lions on Columbia River salmon and steelhead.
Sea lions continue to feast on Columbia River spring Chinook, this year killing 24 percent of an already depressed run, research suggests.
More sea lions and fewer spring Chinook salmon at Bonneville Dam this year was not good news for the fish.
The number of salmon and steelhead consumed by sea lions at Bonneville Dam last year, more than 9,500 fish, was the second-largest since observations and monitoring began in 2002, according to a report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During their annual spring foray into the Columbia River, sea lions also killed lamprey and sturgeon.
Sea lions that feast on salmon and steelhead are finally leaving Bonneville Dam, having taken their annual toll on migrating salmon and steelhead.
Fish kills peak in the first week of May, then decline. More than 50 of the most aggressive hunters have been permanently removed.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports that so far this year sea lions are killing more spring salmon than the 10-year average.
Sea lions are back at Bonneville Dam to begin their annual spring salmon feast. Non-lethal hazing is under way.
An aerial survey by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in February counted more than 6,000 seals and 1,600 sea lions in the Astoria area, according to a report in The Seattle Times.