Steller sea lion with trolling flasherAdd to Cart Add to Lightbox Download
A Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) with a trolling flasher caught in its mouth sits with other Steller sea lions at the Gran Point haulout located on the Lynn Canal near Haines in southeast Alaska. Entanglement in fishing equipment and other marine debris can harm and even cause death in Steller sea lions.
In a research project by Sea Gypsy Research and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin 58 (2009), researchers noted “when a flasher is near the mouth the hook is probably embedded in the animal’s stomach. Stomach penetration likely leads to peritonitis and death.” Additionally, infection of the jaw can lead to tooth loss or the inability to feed.
The project found that of ingested fishing gear (longline gear, hook and line, spinners/spoons and bait hooks) salmon fishery flashers accounted for 80% of ingested fishing gear. Researchers estimated that flashers are used by commercial trollers on only 20% of their hooks.
Trolling flashers like the one shown are used by both commercial and sports fisherman with commercial fisherman. In Alaska, trolling flashers use is legal only in Southeast Alaska.
There are two distinct populations of Steller sea lions in Alaska. The majority of Stellar sea lions that frequent the Lynn Canal are part of the eastern population of Steller sea lions which are not listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act; unlike the western population of Steller sea lions which are listed as endangered. That said however, there have been confirmed sightings of the western population Steller sea lions at Gran Point.
- Steller sea lion with trolling flasher.jpg
- © 2014 John L. Dengler
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Alaska America Department of Commerce Department of the Interior Eumetopias jubatus Gran Point Gran Point Critical Habitat Area Gran Pt. Inside Passage JAI Juneau Juneau Access Improvement Project Juneau Access Improvements Juneau Road Juneau Road Project Lynn Canal Lynn Canal Highway NOAA NOAA Fisheries National Marine Fisheries Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration North America Sea Lion Rock Steller sea lion Steller's sea lion The Road Tongass National Forest U.S. U.S. Forest Service US US Forest Service USA USFS United States United States of America animal animal injury animal mortality animals condition conditions entanglement environmental issue fauna fishing fishing eqiupment fishing gear flasher haulout health health condition health conditions healthiness horizontal injured injury mammals marine marine debris nature no people nobody northern sea lion ocean outdoor outdoors outside pinniped protected land salmon flasher scenery sea sea lion southeast Alaska sports sports & recreation trolling flasher water wilderness wildlife