Fewer threatened salmon are being eaten in the waters below Bonneville Dam, with a program that has led to the capture or killing of about 40 sea lions.
Rob Manning reports on a study presented Tuesday at a meeting in Portland.
The Army Corps of Engineers told a federal task force that sea lions at Bonneville aren’t eating as many salmon as they were.
After three years of using lethal means to control sea lions, consumption has fallen from 4 percent of adult salmon to 2.2 percent.
That’s still above the one-percent goal – and is partly explained by the larger numbers of salmon in recent years.
But Oregon Fish and Wildlife administrator, Steve Williams, says removing the hungriest sea lions has helped.
Steven Williams: “We are making progress – we aren’t there yet, and we’ve got a couple more years under this letter of authorization, that hopefully, we’ll start to answer a few more questions.”
The feds authorized killing sea lions in 2007, but that only lasts until 2012. Williams says killing and capturing problematic sea lions past that deadline is likely necessary to help salmon long-term.
The Sea Lion Task Force is reviewing effort at a series of meetings in Portland.