Sea Lion Hunting
The hunting of Sea Lions
The hunting of Sea Lions is a huge threat to their survival. In some areas they are hunted as a source of food. This is allowed in some remove areas where Eskimos and Native Americans live. Yet they only hunt what they need to survive on instead of doing it to get rid of the animals or to make a profit. They have a great deal of respect for the Sea Lions and they value the benefits they get from them.
It is only in the past decade that the hunting of Sea Lions for their oil and their skin has declined significantly. It is less expensive to use other resources now so the use of the Sea Lion materials is no longer cost productive or needed. In some areas the use of the whiskers from Sea Lions were even used for pipe cleaners.
The majority of Sea Lions that are hunted though aren’t used for such purposes. Instead they are killed for the sport of it. Many hunters find it to be thrilling as well as challenging to kill Sea Lions. They can be taken on guided hunts which lead them to the habitat areas of these animals.
Others are killed because it is believed they pose a huge threat to those that fish commercially. They consume large amounts of food from the waters which means there is less of it for these fishermen to capture and make a profit from. This is why they often will kill Sea Lions even if it is illegal. Too many of them fear that they won’t be able to make a decent living.
However, most researchers will tell you that Sea Lions rarely consume the types of fish that these commercial fishermen are after such as salmon. They will only do so when they have no other choice but to do so. There plenty of reports that Sea Lions ruin fish nets and equipment though. The cost of repairing or replacing them can really add up which is another reason why commercial fishermen hunt them.
In Japan there is a limit on Steller sea lion Hunting with a cap of 116 of them annually. However, there are numerous reports that indicate the government there doesn’t strictly enforce those laws. It is believed they are primarily in place to reduce pressure from other countries and animal advocacy groups. It is believed several of them are killed annually.
However, it is hard to know for sure because all of the deaths of Sea Lions in that area can’t be verified as to the cause. Some of them likely died of natural causes or they were eaten by predators. Yet there are more of them missing than there should be if it is only nature and up to 113-116 of them legally being killed according to experts that study changes in their population.
In the United States it is illegal to hunt Sea Lions. The severity of the laws though vary from one location to the next. They are the strictest in California due to the large number of Sea Lions that reside there. It is believed that those that lead illegal hunts for these animals though get paid plenty of money. For them it is worth taking the risk of getting themselves caught.
To help offset this, there are many types of rewards offered for the reporting of such illegal activities. Most of the time the tips that are given to law enforcement do pay off. They have to pay the reward but they are able to prevent more Sea Lions from being killed. The penalties range from fines to jail time to a combination of both.