PORTLAND. — A federal judge will decide this month whether to stop the government from killing sea lions that eat endangered wild salmon bottled up at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.
U.S. District Judge Michael Simon heard arguments Tuesday on an injunction request from The Humane Society of the United States. The group wants to keep sea lions alive while its suit against the killing goes through the courts.
Much of Tuesday’s hearing was devoted to interpretations about the number of salmon eaten by sea lions and whether it represents a “significant negative impact” compared with the numbers taken by fishermen.
Sea lions have been eating fewer salmon in recent years, and it is “completely disingenuous” for the government to add the animals to a hit list while allowing fishermen to increase their take, Ralph Henry, a Humane Society lawyer, said.