Sea lions are acting naturally


I want to comment on a phrase that was used in the recent article entitled “The ineffectual bombing of sea lions” (HCN, 9/16/19). In it, the authors describe the behavior of the sea lions eating the fish out of the fishermen’s nets as “unabashed thievery.” This is the second time I have read an article on the use of seal bombs in which this is how the behavior of sea lions is described. Given that the sea lions are in their natural habitat and eating their natural prey, to describe this behavior as “unabashed thievery” is both needlessly hyperbolic and scientifically inaccurate; the sea lions are simply eating their natural food in their natural environment as any animal would. I am not discounting the impacts they have on the fishermen’s catch, but to describe this as somehow akin to criminal activity makes no sense. I think journalists should not wrongfully characterize the behavior of marine mammals in this way, as it does not advance a rational dialogue.

Jason Scorse
Director, Center for the Blue Economy
Aptos, California

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