Decision saves Bonneville Dam sea lions

A new decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service delivers a reprieve to fish-eating sea lions at Bonneville Dam.

A new decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service delivers a reprieve to fish-eating sea lions at Bonneville Dam.

The states of Washington and Oregon won’t be allowed to kill up to 255 sea lions at the Bonneville Dam, according to a new decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Washington and Oregon had been authorized to kill the sea lions at the southeastern Washington state dam on the Columbia River between the two states; state officials said the sea lions ate too many salmon at the dam. But the Humane Society and the Wild Fish Conservancy sued to prevent the sea lion killing, and in a statement, lauded the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to prevent the killings.

“We’re delighted the agency has changed its mind and revoked the states’ authorization to kill hundreds of native sea lions for having the audacity to eat fish for dinner. It’s time to face the fact that killing sea lions doesn’t do anything for salmon, and focus instead on real salmon conservation threats, like hydropower and commercial fishing,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation for the Humane Society, in a statement.

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