"The one that got away" is a bittersweet fisherman's story. The one that "got away with it" is the bitter end — if we fail to deal with an exploding California sea lion population that is threatening endangered Columbia River salmon.
Our tribes strongly support the recent recommendation by NOAA Fisheries to allow limited lethal removal of problem California sea lions. The recommendation takes a significant step toward reconciling two conservation laws — the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act — that are increasingly at odds with one another.
Thirty-six years of unencumbered federal protection of California sealions has produced profound success yet unanticipated consequences. The sea lions are at optimal sustainable population, according to NOAA estimates, but have gotten there at the direct expense of some endangered species.
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