What’s the life of a sea lion worth?
Back in September, I wrote about the need to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) after six gray seals were found shot to death on beaches from Dennis to Chatham, Massachusetts. Today, I echo that sentiment even louder with the news out of Seattle that eight sea lions were found shot to death.
The fact that these animals have been killed is not only disconcerting, it’s criminal. Both species of sea lions that were found are protected - California sea lions under the MMPA and Stellar Sea Lions under the Endangered Species Act.
As the MMPA currently reads, anyone who deliberately harms a marine mammal faces a fine of $20,000. Last July, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown introduced legislation, entitled the Marine Mammal Protection Amendment Act of 2011, which would increase that fine to $50,000.
With marine mammals in our waters already facing enough pressures from natural and man-made causes, the intentional killing of these animals must stop. We strongly urge our government leaders to swiftly pass this amendment, so that perpetrators will face a more appropriate punishment.