Marine researchers say they have found more than 20 dead sea lions in only two months near the mouth of the Columbia River—probable victims of frustrated fishermen.
The Oregonian reports that a "shooting surge" began in April, claiming the lives of California and Steller sea lions. Dalin D'Alessandro, a research assistant with the Northern Oregon-Southern Washington Marine Mammal Stranding Network, said she thinks fishermen are "frustrated over competition for their catch."
In April, a federal judge rejected a request to halt the killing of California sea lions that eat protected salmon at Oregon's Bonneville Dam, but that program only allows Idaho, Oregon and Washington authorities to kill the sea lions.
“It is brazen that these people will shoot these animals that are federally protected,” Jim Rice, Oregon Coast coordinator for the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, told the Oregonian. “It’s really alarming.”