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Sea Lion Update

Mar 1, 2012

Visitors watch a sea lion navigate the Bonneville Dam fish ladder.

by Doug Hatch Fisheries Biologist

In early March, CRITFC technicians will begin nonlethal hazing of sea lions in the Bonneville Dam tailrace. We will be trying to move the sea lions away from the fish ladder entrances, where salmon are concentrated and most vulnerable to predation.

In addition, CRITFC is developing and implementing techniques to estimate how many sea lions are in the lower Columbia River. This will provide valuable insight on the size of this problem. In some years, one or two sea lions travel through the lock at Bonneville Dam and impact Indian fishers.

If you spot a sea lion upstream of Bonneville Dam, please report it to the CRITFC Enforcement office at 1 (800) 487-3474. Include information like the time and location of the sea lion, take a picture if you can, and note if the animal is hauled out on bank. We will use this information to locate traps in the Bonneville pool to catch the animal and move it back downstream.

John Whiteaker (CRITFC) and Fidelia Andy (Yakama) conducting sea lion hazing below Bonneville Dam.

Fishers are reminded that they can protect their catch and gear from sea lions using noise makers and visual repellants including horns, whistles, starter pistols, streamers, flashing lights, slingshots, and paint ball guns. However, act responsibly and use common sense! Sea lions are federally protected and regardless of method or intent, the property owner or fisher may be subject to prosecution should a sea lion be seriously injured or killed as a result of deterrence efforts for the protection of property, gear or catch.