The Dam Guardians – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who is well known for their attempts to stop whaling ships in the southern ocean whale sanctuary, now wants to stop Oregon’s killing of sea lions that eat endangered salmon in the Columbia River. The Dam Guardians of Sea Shepherd, in Astoria on Sunday, photographed and video-taped Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife technicians as they captured and branded  38 sea lions at the East Mooring Basin.

The fact is the sea lions take less than 4% of the salmon runs. Whereas, habitat loss, hydroelectric dams, hatchery fish and harvest are responsible for the bulk of wild salmon declines. The sea lions will be branded with hot irons, hazed with rubber bullets and explosives, and killed by lethal injection or shotgun for eating less than 4% of the salmon at the dam. All of this mayhem, conducted on the dime of taxpayers, takes place while commercial, sport, and tribal fisheries are allowed to take up to 17% of the same endangered salmon and the dam itself claims approximately 17% of adult salmon.

About 1,400 sea lions have been branded at Astoria since 1997 as part of a general population study. Numbers branded on the animals are used to identify sea lions  that go upriver to feed on endangered salmon at Bonneville Dam, where  the fish are vulnerable while waiting to go over the fish ladder.

You can follow the Dam Guardians on twitter: @DamGuardians and on Facebook Sea Shepherd USA

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“Palm Sunday for some is supposed to be a peaceful holiday. We woke to the sounds of sea lion screams coming from Pier 36. We scrambled to get dressed, get our equipment, and get down to the docks. We were astounded by the sight of 30 + beautiful sea lions, in sheer terror, climbing upon eachother and crying out in fear. Trying to escape their human captors. Sea Lions literally filled the trap, and… the weight was causing the cage to sink. The sea lions sitting on the docks were also upset. Little ones were swimming up to see their friends in the trap. Matt from O.D.F.W. would bang on the bottom of the trap with a stick and the only way out of the trap was to go into the squeeze cage. Where they would be held tightly against their will, their movements restricted while seering hot irons were pressed into their flesh. The sea lions don’t understand this type of behavior and the way that these humans were treating them. I don’t think the humans understand how it would feel if this was being done to them. The sea lions do not know things like what would drive a man to put them, in a cage and traumatize their family. They do not understand cold hearts that will press seering hot irons into their flesh because these humans do not want to share the fish with wildlife A woman was screaming “Don’t hurt the babies, Matt, how do you sleep at night?” We talked to tourists who heard the sea lions and this woman screaming. They flocked to the pier, and walked away with the truth about what is happening to our oceans, and to marine wildlife on The Willamette and Columbia River. I noticed they would come with smiles on their faces and left looking disturbed. With horror and tears on their faces.   With tears streaming down our face, we refused not to look away. We documented this horror for over six hours.” Ellie Buchanan Sea Shepherd USA
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Photo credits: Sea Shepherd USA