Sea Lions Targeted For Eating Salmon Wildlife regulators have been trying to protect the endangered salmon along the Columbia River, and in 2007 they began shooting sea lions that were eating the fish. The effort was brought down in court, but a bill has been introduced to reauthorize the shooting.
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Salmon-Eating Sea Lions Targeted For Good Taste

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Salmon-Eating Sea Lions Targeted For Good Taste

Salmon-Eating Sea Lions Targeted For Good Taste

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SCOTT SIMON, Host:

Rob, thanks for being with us.

ROB MANNING: You're welcome.

SIMON: And fill us in on the history of the dispute if you can. It goes back a few years.

MANNING: Yes. Sea lions were first noticed coming up the Columbia River to eat salmon the early part of last decade. And it was in 2007 that they actually started doing active removal of the sea lions to protect the salmon population. It was challenged in court by the Humane Society of the United States. And they ultimately won. So right now it's not entirely on sound legal footing for the federal government and the states of Oregon and Washington to continue removing and killing sea lions.

SIMON: Have they methods other than killing the sea lions been tried?

MANNING: Yes. They've tried hazing, often using loud noises, sometimes things like fireworks, to scare them away from where the salmon are. But particularly with the hazing, there are sea lions who have come every year who know what the hazing is about, and they aren't scared by it anymore. So, you know, that isn't entirely successful either.

SIMON: Commercial fisherman and other people involved in the industry must have some interest in this.

MANNING: But there are millions, even billions, of dollars at stake, whether you're talking about the commercial or the sport fishing industry or all the money that the federal and state governments have poured into salmon recovery. In the middle of all this are sea lions, who are very publicly and obviously eating salmon, so it makes it a situation where certainly politicians want to take some action.

SIMON: Rob Manning, a reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting. Thanks so much.

MANNING: You're welcome.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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