ASTORIA, Ore. (KOIN) — On any given day this time of year there are more than 1000 sea lions sunbathing, snoozing and slumbering at the Port of Astoria’s P dock at the mouth of the Columbia River.
They’ve taken over the dock to the exclusion of everything else and they’re not terribly fond of visitors.
The port is trying a new way to keep them off the docks and back into the water. They’ve tried disturbing them with noise and electronic mats on the deck to encourage them off.
Over the weekend Port of Astoria officials installed streamers and chicken wire in the latest effort to keep them off the dock. So far, it appears to be working.
“It’s the noise and the movement and then couple that with the chicken wire fence, they’ll try and get up on the docks and there is a physical barrier that prevents them from getting up here,” said the port’s Robert Evert.
Fishermen can’t use the dock as sea lions caused $100,000 worth of damage to the dock last year. The more time they spend on the dock the less fear they have of natural predators like Orca whales, and sharks.
Evert said this sort of crazy sounding idea involving chicken wire and streamers just might be what works to make everyone happy.
Astoria resident Veronica Montoya, who is an advocate for the sea lions, wants the port to stop bothering them.
“The only thing I’m worried about is I’m concerned that the sea lions might cut themselves on the chicken wire because these are wild animals,” she told KOIN 6 News.
“Our sea lions here are a huge attraction to our city. They bring in a lot of money to the whole coastal community,” she said. “People come from all over to see our sea lions because no one has what we have right here.”
Most agree getting the sea lions back to the rock outcroppings is the best plan. But how to get them there remains a work in progress.