The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association originally gave permission to Washington and Oregon to kill sea lions in order to help restore salmon along their coasts. Not surprisingly, the Humane Society has come in to try to stop the controversial management plan.
The original plan allowed the states to trap and either relocate to an aquarium or euthanize up to 92 sea lions a year for the next four years. NOAA’s Fisheries Service estimated that actual impact to the booming sea lion population would be about 30 animals killed.
Less than a week after this ruling, the Humane Society has successfully halted this management strategy, suing NOAA. According to the StatesmanJournal.com, the Humane Society’s lawsuit claims that NOAA’s research on sea lion impact to salmon is too high, and that they are not responsible for 4.2 percent of the salmon decline.
The suit also comes out strong against fishing, claiming that angler’s take is much more detrimental, as is the introduction of game species like striped bass and walleye that feed on the fish as they migrate inland.
Moving forward, hopefully the lawsuit will also examine the massive positive impact that fishermen in Washington and Oregon have had in restoring salmon stocks in recent years, and that these states will be able to use the best science and management plans to restore salmon populations.