YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Dead sea lions with gunshot wounds wash ashore in Malibu

October 24, 2013|By Samantha Schaefer

At least two sea lions that died from gunshot wounds have washed ashore in Malibu this month, wildlife rescuers said.

Illegal shootings of sea lions occur each year in October when squid fishing season begins, Jonsie Ross at the California Wildfire Center told CBS Los Angeles.

The Malibu Times reported that two of the ocean mammals found on the coast had died of bullet wounds and that a third bore suspicious injuries. CBS Los Angeles said at least three sea lions had been killed by gunshots.

Squid fishermen attract their prey to the surface of the water by switching on a light, but that also attracts sea lions interested in the squid.

Sea lions are protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Nonlethal methods can be used to scare them away. Shooting them is illegal.

Local fishermen are unaware of shooting in the area, Diane Pleschner-Steele, executive director of the California Wetfish Producers Assn. said in an email to the Malibu Times, adding that its members “don’t condone illegal activity."

“Deliberately ‘taking’, i.e., shooting or harassing marine mammals by potentially lethal means, is prohibited … and could trigger a big fine and prosecution,” she said.

Donna Collins told the Malibu Times she sometimes heard gunshots and saw flashes of light along the coastline when she was a seasonal worker for California State Parks stationed in the area last year.

“These were definitely gunshots. And it had happened several times,” she said.

The Malibu coastline has a large squid population because of its sandy bottoms and is a popular fishing spot, the Malibu Times reported.


SUV flies off 110 Freeway, crashes into family's backyard

Officer accused of sexual misconduct at juvenile hall makes bail 

Lodi crash: Boy, 9, in critical condition after parents, siblings die 

Twitter: @Sam_Schaefer

Los Angeles Times Articles