Sea lion hazing starts Monday on the Willamette River

Sea lion hazing starts Monday on the Willamette River
File photo of a sea lion hazing crew (courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife).

CLACKAMAS, Ore. (AP) — A boat crew armed with seal bombs and shotguns loaded with firecrackers will be back on the Willamette River this year trying to keep sea lions from chowing down on salmon bottled up at Willamette Falls.

The hazing started in 2010 but was suspended last year for lack of money. The Legislature authorized $113,000 to pay for a boat and crew for three months, starting Monday. The idea is to allow more threatened spring chinook and winter steelhead to get past the sea lions to spawn.

The state says as many as 21 sea lions were at the falls in 2011, where biologists estimate they can each eat four to seven fish a day.

Similar efforts have been going on for years at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.