Wednesday February 1, 2023


As state officials raise the issue of whether to consider the removal of sea lions and seals for the sake of reviving endangered salmon populations, research continues on the mammals’ impacts.

In November, a Washington State Academy of Sciences report on pinniped predation was released. Pinnipeds are a category of mammals that includes sea lions and seals.

In the Salish Sea, the three most common pinnipeds are Steller sea lions, California sea lions and harbor seals.

The report, which was funded as part of Gov. Jay Inslee’s Southern Resident Orca Whale Task Force Report, found that the “preponderance of evidence” supports the idea that pinnipeds are “likely impeding the recovery of salmon populations in Washington waters.”

The Seattle Times first reported on the issue.

Due to protections under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, pinnipeds are protected from hunting, which has caused populations to boom in the past several decades.

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