Friday, March 23, 2012

Judge: Sea lion killings to save salmon can resume

Oregon state authorities can resume killing California sea lions that feast on endangered salmon bottled up at a dam on the Columbia River, but fewer than one-third as many as federal biologists previously had authorized, a judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg in Washington, D.C., denied the Humane Society of the United States request to stop the killing at the Bonneville Dam while a lawsuit challenging the program goes forward.

But he limited the killing to 30 animals a year instead of the 92 authorized by federal authorities, and ordered that none of them may be shot.

"The case will go forward, and we feel we have a very strong case in the end," Humane Society marine program leader Sharon Young said of their third attempt to permanently halt the killings since they started in 2008.

Floating traps are out, and if any of the 92 California sea lions branded as regular salmon eaters are seen inside them, the gates will be sprung, and the animals killed by lethal injection, said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Jessica Sall. Read More