In the 1950s, there were around 10,000 California sea lions on the entire west coast. Today, there are around 300,000. The time has probably arrived to stop protecting them and start actively managing the populations of these half-ton critters. Of course, some people will have a problem with that, because they’re uninformed and basically stupid.
In addition to chomping fish (contrary to what the activists tell you, the sea lions don’t actually take just an occasional salmon in order to survive; they take a chomp out of one, and then a chomp out of another…and another…and another, leaving a trail of mortally wounded fish in their wake), they also exact a heavy toll these days from taxpayers’ wallets. At the Port of Astoria docks, they’ve had as many as 1600 of the beasts haul out; broken water lines, electrical lines, and overloaded flotation systems have been among the “natural” results.
And then there’s the occasional aggressive bull, to say nothing of the overwhelming layers of sea lion crap painting the docks. So the Port, having spent some $100,000 in the past year to repair damage, has taken the step of installing fluttering ribbons of hunter orange along the docks to discourage the animals from hauling out. Naturally, some folks have a problem with that:
But Ninette Jones is not happy with the orange tape. She believes the port should embrace the sea lions as a tourist attraction.
“We are so lucky to have these animals here, to create a safe space for them, a space where they can lie in the sun for days and get respite,” said sea lion advocate Jones.
Yeah, right, Ninny. Go “advocate” in your back yard; “create a safe space for them” there, already. The docks are public resources, built by and paid for by people, and they aren’t able to handle 50,000 pounds of crapping blubber, let alone one million six hundred thousand pounds of it. If you want to see sea lions, drive on down to the Stellar sea lion cave in Florence, Oregon. Or if California sea lions are your thing, go visit Newport.
But trust me on this: California sea lions aren’t going to galvanize tourism in Astoria. And the animals sure as hell don’t need your “advocacy” – the numbers speak for themselves.