Fix decline of salmon and you’ll stop sea lion slaughter

If you want to stop sea lions from washing up with bullet holes in them, start passing pro-salmon and steelhead legislation now (“At least 2 sea lions found shot near Seattle,” The Herald, Nov. 15).

The root of this problem is not dirty poachers wielding rifles and machetes, cackling evil laughs as they mow down sea lions for sport. Instead, it is a rampant decline in salmon and steelhead numbers, the sea lion’s primary food source.

As rising water temperatures and dammed rivers decimate fish populations, the sea lions concentrate their hunting where fish are most abundant. In order to protect those salmon and steelhead strongholds, some people wrongfully took matters into their own hands.

However, if our salmon and steelhead populations were where they should naturally be, then no individual or government agency would ever have to consider killing a sea lion.

Yes, those responsible for killing these sea lions did a bad thing. A federal law was broken, and protected animals were killed. But instead of relishing in the heinousness of the crime, pointing fingers at who did it and why, let’s spend our energy on the true root of the problem. Allow the salmon and steelhead to flourish, and the sea lions will follow promptly and accordingly.

Timothy Abt


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