Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just to be clear about killing Bonneville Dam Sea Lions

Now that I've been there, I've read all the reports (except one eloquent minority report, but have heard synopsis), let me put the whole Sea Lion killing at Bonneville dam into a few simple sentences.

Looks like the government is going with a kill route, but that's not in stone yet, so this sentence is purely conjecture on my part. The agencies involved have beat their head over this for quite some time, and haven't taken the task lightly. More than likely the cull will target the animals that do the most damage.

But, I want to be clear. The sea lions took around 4% of the salmon last year. Humans took over 40% of the salmon last year. These agencies talk like there isn't anything else they could possibly do to protect the salmon that would keep them from killing sea lions.

That's horse pucky.

There isn't anything else politically they feel that they can do, but there is PLENTY that can be done to save salmon that would be much more effective than killing some wild animals. The list is obvious and long [I have a bus to catch but if you want some explanation here, ask in comments and I'll post again later].

So although I'm glad they spent the time to do this right, the situation is that wild animals are dying because humans don't want to change their behavior. Lets not sugar coat this.

I support the proposal because we have to do what we can to keep a good flow of salmonids going over the dam so they don't go extinct -- but this is less than a bandaid, and doesn't stop the need for other much more effective measures to save these dwindling salmonid populations.



Stu Farnham said...

What does the 40% human share of the kill comprise? Is it just direct kills (harvest, incidental kills, etc) or does it include environmental impacts as well? If the latter, the 40% number seems low.

I would support a total harvest ban, including both sport and commercial fishing. The sticky bit would be to limit tribal fishing, which The Washington State courts have upheld as guaranteed by treaty. I think any reduction in tribal fishing would have to be a negotiated voluntary reduction.

Little Thom said...

I didn't see a link, BP, so here's one. Thanks - hadn't heard about this.

matt_stansberry said...

Right on Stu. It's more like we've wiped out 95% of the run with dams, so if you factor that in, killing sea lions is really just pissing into the wind here. What's it going to buy the sockeyes in Idaho, another two years tops? Come on. They've only got like three of the things coming back each year.

At the same time, I'm not opposed to poking holes in a few pinnipeds if they can make ceremonial shields, lamp oil and whatever the hell else you can get off a sea lion out of them.

Bpaul said...

Stu, I'll dig out my report tonight and answer that question for you. Also, there is a proposal floating around that the states could do a two year harvest ban (commercial only) and pay off the fishermen for lost income, and still have an economically viable way to bump the salmon runs. But, the return would be 4 years down the line, meaning -- it's not politically popular. The boost that those two years' worth of returning salmon would have in hatchling returns could kick start the whole system again.

LT: Thanks for the link, that person is more eloquent than I -- I'll probably repost it. I'll probably link up the site where folks can comment too. I was flying solo on this one, that's why there wasn't a link.

Matt: One concern I have about utilizing the sea lions is that with all the Columbia river fish they're eating, the meat might not be fit for human consumption. Leather and oil and NW aboriginal cultural uses would still be options however.

Tate said...

i think we should "Cull" the humans and not the sea lions

get rid of a few people no one will miss them

Bpaul said...

You are always so wishy washy Tate... always the "middle way" with you, I swear.


Thomas Malthus Fan said...

I'm with Tate.

So.o.o.o...o many of our problems are due to too many frickin' people.


Tate said...

lol that is me mr no opinion...
thanks for the support
Thomas Malthus Fan.
i appreciate anyone that thinks there are too many people squirming around on this earth

Bpaul said...

The % catch info is in the minority report, I'll find an online version to get ya. Tired tonight tho.