Electrified mats tested to undock sea lions

Low-voltage pulse irritates rather than hurts the sea lions

Sun bathing sea lions at the Port of Astoria, June 5, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Sun bathing sea lions at the Port of Astoria, June 5, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) – The Port of Astoria is trying a new approach to keep sea lions off its docks: electrified mats.

The Daily Astorian reports the port is now testing the new mats, which cost about $50 to $90 per square foot.

Previously, the port used colorful surveying tape and foot traffic to keeping sea lions off the docks.

Officials say the plastic mats with charged lines create a low-voltage pulse that irritates, rather than hurts, the sea lions. The animals spend only a few seconds on the platforms.

The mats are also used on an oil platform by Exxon Mobil, because the company needs to keep the sea lions off its offshore rig so as not to damage their hearing.

How the port will finance the technology is still unclear.

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