Now the California sea lions are being joined at Bonneville Buffet by the larger and more stringently protected Steller sea lions, and it seems unlikely that exemptions granted to reduce predation by the California species will be extended to include Stellers. And of course, were it to be even considered, the professional agitators would be all over it. Again.
In 2006, Washington, Idaho and Oregon filed for an exemption to the Marine Mammal Protection Act under Section 120. Two years later the plan was approved and the states began trapping and killing California sea lions at Bonneville Dam.
In March 2008, the Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit in Oregon District Court to stop the program. The case wound its way to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of the government in September 2013.
HSUS loves to litigate. They never spend any money actually helping animals, of course, but lawyers have gotta eat, too. The local HSUS mouthpiece claims that young salmon are being eaten by non-native fish, although in point of fact most of that predation is done by the native pike minnow (sqawfish), which the state pays a bounty on. There are actually a few hardy souls who make a nice addition to their bank accounts over the summer by hooking and reeling in sqawfish and turning them over to state agents.
On the bright side, you may be able to score a good deal on mussels before long, as the apex predator that helps keep the populations in check along the coast is disintegrating – literally turning into goo, and nobody has a clue regarding how or why. Might be viral, might be bacterial, might be both, might be neither. Might be Fukushima. Might not.
“We’ve never even looked at what bacteria and viruses are normal in sea stars,” she says, partly because these animals aren’t “of commercial importance.”
Yes, well, we don’t eat them, but they’re pretty critical for the littoral ecosystem, which affects a lot of the stuff that we do eat.