No Plan to Remove Sea Lions From Rivers

Anglers at the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, looking to reel in their next fish are in direct competition with the sea lions that live nearby.

Dr. Mark Dendy has spent a year watching "Brutus" and four other sea lions patrol a section of the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers.

"Last Friday we spotted four or more in a two hour period. If we saw four, that means there is probably eight or more here," Dendy said.

Dendy thinks with sea lions patrolling during salmon runs, they are a factor to the declining salmon population in our area.

This time of year is mating season for sea lions, Dendy said, and this type of sea lion activity is unusual.

"They would normally be down at the Channel Islands, breeding."

Pay Foy from the California Department of Fish and Game said he's not surprised by the activity, because the sea lions are getting plenty to eat.

"I think what has happened is they are running out of food and habitat," Foy said. "So they are moving deeper into the river systems."

Foy said there is not current plan to remove them.

The sea lion is protected under federal law, but there is another threat.

"You have poachers who are taking hundreds of salmon every day and you have sea lions who are taking dozens of salmon every day," Foy said. "We are going to spend out time on the poachers."

Dendy said the sea lion population has increased about 6 percent a year since the early 1970s when the federal government made it illegal to kill sea lions. This article originally appeared on

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