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March 27, 2008  
Killing sea lions isn't the answer to saving salmon!

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is accepting comments on a proposal authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to remove up to 85 California Sea Lions per year on the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam. The 5-year plan translates either to a life-sentence of confinement in a zoo or aquarium, or death for up to 425 federally protected sea lions. Public comments are being accepted through April 4---speak out today!

Tell the WDFW that relocation and lethal removal are unacceptable forms of wildlife management. Ask the WDFW to explain why these sea lions are being targeted when the largest contributor to salmon decline is human impact. Ask the government to stop wasting valuable resources killing these natural predators of salmon, when they should be tackling the bigger issues: over-fishing by humans and habitat loss through dams, pollution, and human encroachment on wild lands.

Key points for you to share with WDFW:

  • While birds, other fish, sea lions, and fishermen all kill salmon, the primary threats are from loss of quality spawning habitat, and dams that block their normal migratory routes.
  • The NMFS estimates that sea lions eat roughly 4% of the salmon runs but admits that the Bonneville Dam itself kills between 2 and 16% of the adult fish, while "harvest" by fishermen is allowed at levels anywhere between 4% and 17% each year.
  • Any sea lions who are killed or removed will soon be replaced by others who discover that fish are easy pickings below the dam. Killing or removing the sea lions will not solve the problem as long as the barriers to fish passage and other causes of salmon decline are not addressed.
  • Trapping wild animals and forcing them into confinement at a zoo or aquarium sentences them to an inhumane life of stress and monotony.

Share your point of view:

Via e-mail:

Via mail:
Teresa Eturaspe, SEPA coordinator
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way N
Olympia, WA 98501-1076

This comment period is part of an environmental review under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

Thank you for taking action in Olympia to protect Washington State's animals!

The Washington State legislative session ended on March 12. Because it is an election year, many bills did not pass the legislative process. Although this was disappointing, we will continue to work throughout 2008 to prepare for next year's session. Thank you for all your letters to your legislators and to the governor supporting greater protections for animals in our state. Much of what is decided in our communities depends on citizens like you sharing your views with elected officials. Visit PAWS' 2008 Washington State Legislative Session page for information on the outcome of bills we followed this year.

Want more information on lobbying and advocacy?

  • Read Advocacy 101 in PAWS' latest magazine to discover how you can advocate for animals all year long.
  • Visit ASPCA lobbying 101 to read more about state and federal legislative processes.
  • Browse the National Institute for Animal Advocacy website, where you can order the book, Get Political for Animals, which outlines how individuals and organizations can become politically effective for animals.
  • Go to the HSUS Citizen Lobby Center to learn basics on grassroots lobbying.

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A Northwest leader in protecting animals since 1967, the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) shelters homeless animals, rehabilitates injured and orphaned wildlife, and empowers people to demonstrate compassion and respect for animals in their daily lives.

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