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Sea Lion Deaths in the Northwest

OPB | June 11, 2012 9:30 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 11:36 p.m.

Twenty sea lions have been killed in Oregon and Washington in the past two months. The deaths come at a time when sea lions have been at the center of an ecological controversy among wildlife advocates.

Fishermen and sea lions compete for fishing stocks, which leads some to think that the slain sea lions were killed by fishermen wanting to weed out the competition. Sea lions are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and shooting them could lead to a $20,000 fine and a year in prison.

There is, however, an exception to that law. Sea lions have been preying on endangered salmon and steelhead at Bonneville Dam in the Columbia River, and NOAA recently allowed for some of those chronic poachers to be killed. The Humane Society has attempted to block the kill order, saying that humans kill more fish than the sea lions do.

What questions do you have about the illegal sea lion kills in Oregon and Washington? What questions do you have about the sea lions being killed at Bonneville Dam? Do you support killing sea lions to protect salmon?

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