Members of the marine conservation organization, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, have released photos of a dead sea lion that washed ashore on Hornby Island, reportedly having been shot in the head.
The discovery coincides with the roe herring fishery, currently happening in the Strait of Georgia.
Sea Shepherd personnel are concerned fishermen could be illegally culling the pinnipeds in an effort to protect their herring catch.
“[Tuesday’s] washing up of a sea lion shot in the head on Hornby Island, leaves no doubt as to the abuse of pinnipeds our crew has been observing on the water,” said Sea Shepherd Captain Locky Maclean in an email to Black Press.
The Georgia Strait roe herring fishery is the only remaining herring fishery and has been a contentious issue for numerous marine conservation groups, who feel such fisheries will lead to the demise of much marine life.
“This is the principal food supply of Chinook salmon, and we’ve got southern resident killer whales that are starving to death because they don’t have enough Chinook salmon,” said Ian McAllister, executive director of Pacific Wild - another group observing the fishery. “We are liquidating the very basis of their food supply.”
“For the Sea lions, the Strait of Georgia herring spawn is one of the last places they can feed. They come from far and wide to find food, who can blame them when the other herring runs are all gone?” said Maclean.
There have been calls from commercial fishermen to institute a seal/sea lion cull.
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