|PHOTO: ABC News
Thus far, eight are dead.
Back in March 2010, a total of 10 sea lions had been found shot to death in three months.
When there were lots and lots of salmon, humans and sea lions all got their share. Now there are less salmon and sea lions eat salmon and sometimes screw over fishing gear. Some salmon fishermen don’t like sea lions.
I’ve heard both a tribal and a non-tribal fisherman talk angrily about sea lions and how they ought to be shot. Back in the late ‘90s, the sea lion dubbed “Herschel” and his friends stationed themselves downstream from the Chittenden Locks in Ballard feasting on the few Lake Washington steelhead making their way up the spillway.
In 2001, author and former Seattle Times science editor Bill Dietrich wrote a good Pacific Northwest piece laying out the dilemma posed by conflicts between two protected species— salmon and sea lions: Conspicuous Consumers
I recall one salmon fisherman described the orca whales and sea lions as “taking food off my kids’ plates.” Salmon, marine mammals, fishermen— all in danger of extinction.
But I’m still trying to get into the mind of someone who would shoot a sea lion.
I was once angry enough at a raccoon who was taking my hens from the chicken coop at night that I sat in wait with a .22 rifle and a flashlight. By the time I got the ‘coon in the light and in my sights, he’d step into the darkness. After a few clumsily missed shots, it became clear that taking matters into my own hands had resulted more in comedy than anger.
There’s talk about shooting and then there’s actually taking up the weapon and shooting. Salmon can’t shoot and neither can sea lions. That’s where I have a hard time getting into the mind of the person or persons who do shoot sea lions.
Until I do, I say they can go to hell.