Protesters congregated at the Bonneville Dam on Thursday, the day after the first sea lion of 2010 was euthanized as part of a plan to protect the Chinook salmon run on the Columbia River.
This is the third year of a three-year sea lion killing plan approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Oregon Department Fish & Wildlife spokeswoman Jessica Sall. Officials will reevaluate the situation at the end of the year to determine if they will ask for an extension.
Officials said 80 sea lions currently meet the criteria to be euthanized. Twenty-five sea lions were killed during the first two years of the operation.
Matt Rossell, who is with In Defense of Animals, a group that opposes the project, attended the demonstration.
"It's painful to see these sea lions killed needlessly," he said.
Rossell said state leaders are ignoring the dam itself and over-fishing as possible causes for dwindling salmon numbers.
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