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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fish Bulletin No. 14. Report on the Seals and Sea Lions of California, 1928


In 1926 a few complaints and several petitions were received by the Division of Fish and Game from the fishing industries regarding damage to fishing by seals and sea lions. Early in 1927 the complaints became more numerous. This was the direct result of propaganda by sea lion hunters from Oregon. These men have hunted sea lions for several seasons for a bounty in the state of Oregon. As the sea lions in Oregon are becoming scarce, due to their activities, they made a trip along the coast of California, stopping at all the principal fishing centers, locating the rookeries, and talking to the fishermen, with a view to hunting in California. As there was no possibility that the Division of Fish and Game would consider a bounty on seals and sea lions, the hunters tried to interest the fishermen to the extent of raising a fund with which to pay a small bounty. The fishermen's organizations agreed to raise the fund, but nothing has been done toward it to date. The fishing industries, in their complaints, set forth as their grievances that the seals and sea lions are very numerous; that they are on the increase, and that they take enormous quantities of fish and cause considerable damage to gear. There are two species of sea lions: Steller's sea lion (Eumetopias stelleri); the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus), and the one species of seal, the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina), found on the coast of California.

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