For decades, there has been a huge problem with sea lions abusing salmon populations, as the salmon back up at the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. This also happens to a lesser extant at the Ballard Locks from Lake Washington to Lake Union. For years, they attempted to 'relocate' the sea lions...capturing them and transporting them hundreds of miles away. However, tags on the sea lions let them know that the same animals kept coming back...and it wasn't cheap, either.
Things weren't always this way...until the late 1960's, Oregon actually had a bounty on sea lions. The Marine Mammal Protection Act put a stop to this. Things were all still happy until the early 1990's, when folks realized...you know...salmon populations had fallen to 5% of their historic highs. The sea lions, taking up to 6,000 of them a year, just at the Bonneville Dam, were an easy target to blame.
For several years, non-lethal methods were tried...firecrackers, rubber bullets, and relocation. As I said above...it didn't really work.
Finally, in 2008, .gov decided it more important to protect the salmon(and salmon fisheries) than the sea lions, which had bounced back from 1000 animals in the 1930's, to 238,000 in 2008. It's the right call...I had no problem with it then, and have no problem with it now. After two years of killing the 'repeat offenders'(like 10 sea lions a year), things were put on hold for a few years by a Humane Society lawsuit. Because, to the Humane Society, sea lions are more important than fishermen.
Earlier this week, the Feds said it was okay to start reducing the population again, allowing the killing of up to 92 sea lions a year. I guess they normally trap them, and drug them, which seems like a lot of work and money. Normally, I'm one of the first to rant and rage when a government agency spends tax-payer money to reduce an animal population that I KNOW hunters would be willing to pay to reduce for them.
I'm just not sure you are gonna get a lot of hunters to want to go 'sea lion hunting'. I know a few salmon and halibut fishers who might want to go take some revenge...but I can't see 'sea lion' being high on the 'tasty meat' or 'impressive living room wall mount' list.
So umm...yeah...carry on smartly folks. If the Humane Society, which says 'this hardly seems a situation that requires fatal mangment' really wants these sea lions treated humanely...then they can get out there and trap them and relocate them with their DONATED funds...not tax-payer money.