A new bill in Congress would allow the National Marine Fisheries Service to shoot any sea lion they spot doing the unthinkable—eating. When salmon migrate up the Columbia River from Oregon to Washington, some sea lions use the opportunity to grab a couple of meals. That doesn’t sit well with anglers and the fishing industry, who want to grab more than a couple, so both states started “removing” the sea lions in 2007 until a lawsuit filed by animal protectionists put a stop to those shenanigans. Now sea lions are facing the firing squad again, although human beings are still allowed to catch salmon from the Columbia River.
Salmon have been driven to the brink of extinction not by sea lions but by humans, who continue to gobble up fish despite the widespread collapse of fish populations. During the past 50 years, 90 percent of fish populations worldwide have been decimated, thanks to the increasing use of factory fishing trawlers that vacuum up everything—and everyone—in their path. It is estimated that the oceans’ fish populations will be completely depleted by 2050. Fish farms aren’t the answer, either, since it takes 5 pounds of wild-caught fish to produce 1 pound of farmed fish and the pollution and cruelty of these factory fish farms are now well known.
Written by Michelle Sherrow