Save Idaho Fish–Support lethal California sea lion management
By angelamontana


There is a request for comments on an application submitted by Oregon Fish and Game requesting authorization for the “intentional take, by lethal methods, of individually identifiable California sea lions in the vicinity of Willamette Falls, Orgeon”, that are having a “significant negative impact on Pacific salmon and steelhead” listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  Here’s the language on the Regulations.gov site:

Request for comments on an application submitted under Section 120(b)(1)(A) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act by the state of Oregon on October 6, 2017, to the National Marine Fisheries Service requesting authorization for the intentional take, by lethal methods, of individually identifiable California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) in the vicinity of Willamette Falls, Oregon, that are having a significant negative impact on Pacific salmon and steelhead (Onchorynchus spp.) listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In a letter dated October 10, 2016, NMFS responded to the state of Oregon that the state’s application contained sufficient evidence of the problem interaction and expected benefits of the taking to warrant establishing a Pinniped-Fishery Interaction Task Force.

Sportsmen are commenting on the site and calling in regarding this issue.  Here are a couple of comments from sportsmen online:

I am writing to expres my strong support for the ODFW application to lethally reduce the population of sea lions in the Willamette River at Willamette Falls.

I am an avid salmon and steelhead angler who lives 10 minutes from Willamette Falls. I’ve personally had sea lions take hooked salmon from my line and have seen this become a common occurrence in this fishery, much to my disappointment. 

Sea lions have become a troubling nuisance for hundreds of anglers on the Willamette. Fishing has become a defensive sport. This is not “natural;” it is nature gone wildly out of balance. These animals are out of control. They are a menace to our sport, our river and to anglers themselves.

Aggressive sea lions pose a dangerous threat to anglers; I have seen situations where anglers narrowly escaped serious injury such as the loss of a hand or arm from sea lions attacking fish as they’re being netted.

I welcome ODFW’s efforts to bring nature back into balance on the Willamette and protect endangered fish.

and

I write in strong support of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s application for Section 120 removal authority of California Sea Lions (CSL) near Willamette Falls. According to an analysis released by ODFW earlier this year, ESA-listed Willamette River winter steelhead will go extinct if nothing is done to reverse the sea lion predation.

ODFW has conducted non-lethal deterrence methods to deter CSL predation since 2010. These non-lethal methods have not worked, and the predation has only increased in recent years. The number of California Sea Lions moving into Willamette River continues to increase and their presence now appears to be nearly year-round. If NOAA is serious about saving an ESA-listed species, it should authorize the removal of these sea lions, rather than requiring any further non-lethal deterrence activities. 

NOAA should also broaden the scope of the permit to apply beyond the immediate area near Willamette Falls. While Willamette Falls represents a serious area of predation, California Sea Lions are targeting ESA-listed steelhead and salmon throughout the Willamette River. Moreover, NOAA should act to provide ODFW maximum flexibility in determining that individual sea lions are predating on salmon and are therefore authorized to be removed.

I urge NOAA to take swift action on this critical application.

This affects all anglers who are after salmon and steelhead in the northwest, as Jim Swanson, a Montana resident and avid angler, stated, “This could make a huge difference for anglers, as the ODFW has apparently just started the long overdue process of trapping and removal of sea lions at Willamette Falls on the Willamette river. This a big deal for Idaho steelhead and salmon fishermen because this could very likely mean the end of a legal stalemate with the USFW and a beginning of trapping and removal of sea lions at Bonneville Dam where our Idaho fish are being slaughtered for the last 10 years by these sea lions.”  Many sportsmen believe, including Swanson, that if this moves forward and lethal measures are used on these sea lions, the change in Idaho fish could be seen as early as this spring.
To voice your comments, contact the ODFW Director’s office in Salemvat 503-947-6044.  You can also comment by clicking the button below.
 





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