US allows killing sea lions eating at-risk Northwest salmon
By GENE JOHNSON Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities have given wildlife managers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho permission to start killing hundreds of sea lions in the Columbia River basin in hopes of helping struggling salmon and steelhead.
The bulky marine mammals long ago figured out they could feast on the migrating fish where they bottleneck at dams or where they head up tributaries to spawn.
The sea lions have been a long-running conundrum, pitting mammals protected under federal law against protected fish runs.
The permit granted Friday allows the states and several Native American tribes to kill 540 California sea lions and 176 Steller sea lions over the next five years.