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Sea Lion Forum Saturday, May 30th at Clackamette Park

Sea Lions on the Willamette River laying on the docks in Oregon City.

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the water the last 10 years, you’ve seen first hand the growth of the Columbia River and Willamette River sea lion population. Of course they’re annoying and can spoil a potential catch opportunity, but the situation is far more serious than any number of these sea lions can do to any of us individually.

According to a study performed by NOAA that is now in it’s 5th year, around 40% of the Columbia River Spring Chinook run is simply disappearing. The study pit tags Spring Salmon in the estuary and then after subtracting out sport catch, commercial catch and other forms of potential mortality between 40-45% of the run simply isn’t arriving to Bonneville Dam. Of course they’ll study these results ad infinitum to rule out any possibility that perhaps pterodactyl are making a comeback in the basin, but the bottom line is, Sea Lions are a much larger problem than most care to admit.

This study focuses specifically on Columbia River Spring Chinook Salmon and doesn’t account for Wild Winter Steelhead, Sturgeon and the Pacific Lamprey. The fact is, Sea Lions are overpopulated as a result of a very successful Marine Mammal Protection Act and we’re at a point were the MMPA needs to be changed to allow for sustainable management.

Over the years I’ve been critical of politicians for not doing the right thing in regards to this issue. If I’m going to be fair, I also need to provide support when our public servants  step up and do the right thing. Saturday, May 30th at 12p is our opportunity as fishermen to show up and show our leadership that we have their backs.

Representitives Kurt Schrader (D) and Jamie Hererra Butler (R) are going to be on hand along with representatives of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and CCA to talk about what the next steps are to fixing the current issue.

I would ask that each and everyone that enjoys fishing and our environment to show up and offer support for the folks that are trying to make a difference. Please share this post and get on the phone to make sure the people that you fish with are their to support the event as well. By showing up and representing, we can do more to collectively help this cause than any amount of complaining  will ever do.

What: Sea Lion Forum

When: Saturday, May 30, 12p-1p

Where: Clackamette Park, Oregon City