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article imageOp-Ed: Two sea lions killed at Bonneville Dam

By Elizabeth Batt     Apr 6, 2012 in Environment
Portland - Irony or tragedy? Two California sea lions have been euthanized at Bonneville Dam to protect salmon, yet Oregon and Washington Fish and Wildlife have extended fishing for Chinook by six days on the Columbia River.
On March 15, the NOAA announced it had authorized wildlife agencies from the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington to shoot federally protected California sea lions. Claiming the seals are predators of endangered salmon, the number of seals killed could have topped 460 over the next five years.
The culling of the first 92 sea lions was scheduled to begin March 20, but on March 19, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Wild Fish Conservancy and two individual plaintiffs filed suit in federal court, to stop the culling.
Three days later on March 22, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in Washington, D.C., denied the request essentially allowing the culling to continue as the lawsuit moved forward. Boasberg however, limited the killing to 30 animals a year instead of the authorized 92, and said the seals could be euthanized, but not shot.
Today, the Washington Post is reporting that two sea lions captured on Tuesday have been killed:
"A Washington state wildlife spokesman says two salmon-eating California sea lions have been captured this week at Bonneville Dam and killed by lethal injection."
Two salmon-eating California seals?
According to HSUS cited earlier in this Digital Journal article:
"In 2010, when the sea lions consumed less than 2 percent of the salmon run, fisheries harvested 17 percent of these same fish. In 2011, sea lions consumed just over 1 percent of the salmon run at the same time that Oregon and Washington permitted fisheries in the Columbia River to harvest as much as 12 percent of the very same run."
Furthermore reported Sandy McElhaney of The Examiner, James H. Lecky, the Director of the Office of Protected Resources and the person responsible for authorizing the cull, has a rather interesting history behind his present position.
"In 2002," McElhaney said, "the bureaucrat gave an illegal order to signficantly cut in-stream flows on the Klamath River. This action lead to the death of at least 33,000 salmon (some endangered) on the Klamath River."
But wait, it gets better.
The Statesman Journal reported yesterday:
"With cold, high water, low fishing effort and light catches, officials with Oregon and Washington Fish and Wildlife today decided to extend fishing for Chinook six days on the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam."
Fishermen can harvest salmon through at least April 13, except on Tuesday April 10, when fishing will be closed to allow for a day of commercial gillnet fishing.
And there is the crux of the issue. Those 'dam' salmon-eating seals, can't afford the license fee.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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