In a genius move that wouldn’t be out of place as a headline in The Onion, Senator Maria Cantwell is proposing a bill that would protect salmon — by killing sea lions!

The misleadingly bill named Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act, signed by Cantwell and the routinely ranked least green senator James Risch, would give permission for the shooting of up to 900 sea lions annually on the Columbia River … purely because they’re eating “too many” salmon. Along with shooting these animals with rubber bullets, the proposal also suggests hazing tactics that are more at home on some of the campuses of our colleges than on the banks of the river! The proposal thinks that firecrackers are an effective way to scare the sea lions away from their meals.


These sea lions are cited as a cause for the huge drop in salmon run numbers in the Columbia River, down from 15,000, 15 years ago, to just 1,000 in 2017. When the real culprit for this depletion in numbers is us: dams, habitat degradation, and overfishing in the area by humans are far more to blame for these losses than sea lions! Perhaps the dams have given a place for the sea lions to easily meet for a quick sashimi, yet who is at fault for that — the animals seizing an opportunity we have given them, or us?

Discussions on how to help these Columbia salmon have been ongoing for around thirty years now, yet the only suggestion that never gets anywhere is changing the federal hydropower dam system. How much simpler it is to cull a species in the food chain that can’t argue back!

In public comments to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Humane Society Marine Wildlife Field Director Sharon Young wrote that removed sea lions “are rapidly replaced by others since the situation that attracted predators remains unchanged,” which results in an “endless and ineffective treadmill of death.” Travis Williams, Executive Director of the environmental nonprofit Willamette Riverkeeper, added, “It has been nearly 20 years since winter steelhead were listed, and [the wildlife agency] doesn’t really seem to reflect that in their recent PR effort regarding sea lions.”

What a wonderful world we live in when we think culling a species is one way to save another, without looking to ourselves as the root of the problem!


If you want to help protect BOTH salmon and sea lions – not to mention starving orca populations and countless others, do the thing these clueless senators are so unwilling to do and look at your own responsibility in this issue. The average American eats over 15 pounds of seafood a year, but unlike, say sea lions, we have an abundance of choices when it comes to mealtime. By choosing plant-based foods over salmon for omega-3s and other nutrients, we can help assuage the war that’s being waged on salmon and wildlife. Check out the #EatForThePlanet book to learn more about how your food choices can help imperiled species.

For more on the devastating issue of Man V. Salmon that stars countless marine animals as well, check out these links below:

Image Source: Steve Halama/Unsplash