Oregon warns Willamette steelhead face extinction if sea lions’ feast continues

If sea lions continue their underwater buffet below Willamette Falls, they could push winter steelhead trout to the brink of extinction, state officials warned Monday.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife highlighted the threat in a population feasibility study released Monday. Without federal intervention, they said, there’s an 89 percent probability that least one population of the iconic fish species will go extinct in the near future.

LINK (via: Oregon Live)

ODFW needs to address more than just sea lions, talking points courtesy of The Conservation Angler.

1. ODFW has contributed to the decline of threatened winter steelhead by running a revenue fetching fishing program for non- native hatchery steelhead rather than recovery for endangered native steelhead. Irresponsible.

2. ODFW releases so many hatchery summer steelhead that cause competition and predation for threatened winter steelhead they have asked anglers to fish for hatchery steelhead smolts, a fishery that also kills wild winter steelhead smolts.

3. Seal and Sea Lions were not solely responsible for the low 2017 return. Predation on salmon and steelhead by marine mammals reaches a critical impact when the return is as low as counted and the number of marine mammals is high. The
question is how did the Willamette Winter Steelhead population drop from over 5,778 in 2016 to less than 900 in 2017? Again the low return in 2017 was not caused solely nor principally by marine mammals. By lumping all the negatives on sea lion predation ODFW has found a cover up for their own incompetence.

4. Federal enforcement of the Endangered Species Act recovery of threatened winter steelhead has purposely failed, giving ODFW the green light to promote the extinction of winter steelhead rather than their recovery. Shameful and illegal.

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