Today U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon denied a complaint from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to halt the killing of California sea lions at the Bonneville Dam. This was the non-profit’s third time in court to defend the sea lions since March 2012, when they filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop the cull. The animals are charged with eating endangered salmon. While fishermen are allowed to catch up to 17 percent of the prized fish, government reports indicate that the sea lions consumed about .6 percent of the total salmon run at the Bonneville Dam from January to June 2012.
We are disappointed in the ruling and we plan to appeal,” said HSUS Marine Issues Field Director Sharon Young. “We still believe that the government’s decision to kill sea lions is irrational and politically motivated, and does nothing to help salmon. Sea lions consume a minuscule amount of salmon when compared to salmon mortality cause by fisheries and dams, and non-native fish and sea lion predation has dropped at the dam every year for the last six years. The federal government is simply scapegoating sea lions rather than taking the necessary steps to address the activities truly impacting salmon recovery.”
Since 2008, 40 California sea lions deemed as “predators” of endangered salmon have been killed and 11 of them have been taken into captivity. The latest victim was California sea lion C021, who was captured on a floating trap in Astoria and killed on August 30, 2012.