Are sea lions protected in California?

Sea lions enjoying a cool day at the docks at Ventura Harbor. Photos by Patricia Schallert

As sea lions are taking over some of our docks with their loud barking and poop the question is what can be done to remove them? Not much.

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 provides federal protection not only to harbor seals, but also to northern elephant seals, California and Steller sea lions, whales, porpoises, sea otters and other marine mammals. This law prohibits killing or harassing these shy creatures in any manner. It’s illegal to harass, feed, hunt, capture, collect or kill these animals.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in recent years the populations of these animals have increased dramatically and are now considered healthy and robust.

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