Over the last 20 years, the problem of California sea lions and Steller sea lions feasting on threatened Northwest salmon has worsened. The animals have returned year after year to fish ladders on dams where the fish are concentrated, making them easy prey. Wildlife managers have used techniques like hazing and other non-lethal methods to deter the sea lions, with little to no long-term effect. Now a new federal rule shifts management to geographic areas, rather than individual sea lions, and for the first time gives Indigenous tribes the ability to kill the sea lions that are threatening salmon runs. We talk with Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission senior scientist Doug Hatch about what this will mean for sea lions, salmon and tribes.
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