SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The typically calm waters of where the Sacramento and American rivers converge aren’t so calm these days.
Fishermen hoping to catch salmon are facing some unexpected competition: sea lions.
That may not sound like such a big deal, but local fishermen like Jim Thompson says the sea lions are becoming overly-aggressive.
He tells CBS13 of a recent incident while he was fishing near Discovery Park. “Just as the fish was coming in–the sea lion jumped out of the water and jumped right in front of us and took the fish right next to the boat,” Thompson says.
He fears one day the 600- to 700-pound sea lion will jump into a boat and sink it.
We spent several days watching the sea lions and fishermen coexist. We saw two sea lions circling boats, splashing, and going after salmon once a fisherman gets a bite.
Another fisherman we spoke with takes a more ominous tone on what might happen one day.
He tells CBS 13, “It’s only a matter of time before someone gets pulled in, or someone takes a shotgun to a sea lion. That’s probably gonna be the outcome one of these days.”
No one wants to see that, especially the Department of Fish and Wildlife. A law enforcement officer with the DFW tells us, “The probability of a sea lion jumping into a boat is very low. For the most part, anglers and sea lions in the Sacramento River will have to learn to coexist.”
They remind us sea lions are protected under the Federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.
There are steps fishermen can take to avoid a confrontation with a sea lion. For those tips and more, go to http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/marine_mammals/deterring_qa.html