According to Seal Sitters marine Mammal Stranding Network, people are currently shooting and beheading sea lions along West Seattle’s coastline.
According to the volunteer group, 13 sea lions have been reported dead with six having been confirmed to be shot and another having its head cut off.
According to Blubberblog, the shootings are not uncommon around this time of the year as they coincide with the fish runs but the amount that have been shot this year is significantly higher than years past as NOAA data shows that the shooting this year are six times higher.
The reason is not entirely known why the sea lions are being shot and killed but the group does believe that the fisherman and marine mammals are both out seeking food and end up in the same area. The fisherman turn to using the despicable act of shooting the animals to get them out of the area.
Sea lions and seals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and makes it a federal crime to kill, harass or injure marine mammals in the US. It carries fines up to US$25,000 and jail time.
Sea lions and seals will continue to migrate to the area over the winter to feed. Public pressure needs to be put on the local and federal governments to ensure they are policing the areas to protect these magnificent animals.