Sea lions are now busily chewing their way through salmon in the smaller rivers, like the Clackamas River in Oregon. Apologists can't blame that on the Columbia and Snake River dams, which for years have been what they've blamed the increasing predation on. It wouldn't be so bad if the sea lions were doing what the media describe:
In the past month or two, a few California (one Steller) sea lions have moved into the lower stretches of the Sandy River and as many as half-dozen (some say more) are devouring winter steelhead in the Clackamas River, as far up as Eagle Creek.
Um, no, dear reporters and reporterettes, that is exactly what the animals are not doing. And that's the problem.
If you leave the office and actually go out to the rivers, you might notice that the sea lions don't "devour" the salmon. Far from it - they take a bite out of one, mortally wounding the fish, and then repeat the process on successive fish. Nobody would likely mind if they consumed an entire fish, or even several; it's the dozens of mortally wounded fish that each of the animals leave in their wake that is the issue.
It's time to arm up and start shooting the sea lions in the rivers. Skin them, and sell the pelts to be made into waterproof rain-gear. Cut away the blubber for oil production. Send meat to processors to feed the "homeless" (bums/addicts). Dump the remains into the river to feed young fish. What we have, here, is an overpopulation problem caused by bureaucrats back in D.C. who have no idea as to what's going on in the waters of the west coast.
Remember Ballard Locks in Seattle, Wash.?
Apparently few, if any, real lessons were learned from the decimation of Lake Washington's meager (2,000-3,000 thousand fish) wild steelhead runs by Herschel and a handful of sea lions in the 1990s.
In the few years it took to collect enough data to satisfy the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act's (MMPA) proof requirements, the unsustainable run crashed.
And the D.C. stranglehold is about to do the same thing here. Winter steelhead can't be commercially caught, and as the hatchery run has already passed, the sport fishery is over. But now come the pinnipeds, tearing with abandon through the remaining wild fish.
Screw the MMPA; shoot the sea lions and part them out as described above.