Wednesday, May 7, 2008

victory...for now

Settlement Halts Sea Lion Trapping and Killing This Year

(May 6, 2008) — Today, The Humane Society of the United States and the Wild Fish Conservancy announced the filing of a settlement agreement with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the States of Oregon and Washington to halt the planned trapping or killing of up to 85 sea lions at the Bonneville Dam this year. The agreement means that no sea lions may be trapped or killed before The HSUS' lawsuit challenging the program is resolved sometime in 2009.

The settlement comes two days after the disturbing news that six sea lions were shot in their closed traps at the dam on Sunday, and a week after a seventh sea lion died under the agencies' care after trapping. An eighth sea lion was discovered dead further down river today, and the cause of death is still under investigation. The HSUS has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the shooting of trapped sea lions, and both state and federal law enforcement agencies are investigating.

"In light of these reckless and illegal killings, the government has done the right thing by shelving its plans to trap and kill sea lions this year," said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president for animal protection litigation for The HSUS. "This program was clearly fostering an environment of intolerance and persecution of these animals, and it's time look for a more balanced approach to salmon conservation."

Federal law only allows the killing of sea lions when the agency proves they are having a significant negative impact on salmon. The HSUS has challenged the removal program in court as being irrational in light of other much higher sources of salmon mortality, like fishing and dams. Last week, a federal appeals court issued an order preventing any killing of sea lions. However, the court had allowed trapping and live relocation to continue until the case was resolved. The latest agreement will halt all trapping, relocation, and shooting of California sea lions.

Media contacts:
Kristen Everett: 240-654-2667, keverett
Kurt Beardslee: 425-788-1167,
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization – backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty -- On the web at
Wild Fish Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to the recovery and conservation of the Northwest region's wild-fish ecosystems, with about 2,400 members. Wild Fish Conservancy's staff of over 20 professional scientists, advocates, and educators work to promote technically and socially responsible habitat, hatchery, and harvest management to better sustain the region's wild fish heritage.

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