Sea lions are sea mammals characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, short, thick hair, and a big chest and belly. Together with the fur seals, they comprise the family Otariidae, eared seals, which contains six extant and one extinct species in five genera
Facts and Figures
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California Sea Lions were historically important to indigenous people living in coastal areas and on islands used by Sea Lions for rookeries (Arellano-Peralta and Medrano-Gonzalez 2015). Huge middens in southern California and on the Channel Islands with large numbers of California Sea Lion and other pinniped bones attest to the past importance of marine mammals for subsistence prior to the changes that followed the arrival of Europeans on the west coast of North America (Porcasi et al. 2000, Braje and DeLong 2009). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, California Sea Lions were harvested intensively for a variety of products and hunted for bounties to reduce their impact on fisheries (Cass 1985, Gerber and Hillborn 2001, Arellano-Peralta and Medrano-Gonzalez 2015).
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases Problematic native species/diseases Pollution Domestic & urban waste water Industrial & military effluents Agricultural & forestry effluents
Protection, which began in the mid-20th century in the United States, was solidified with the passage of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and similar laws in Mexico. These protective measures provided the impetus for recovery of the population. At coastal sites and on most offshore islands, tourism is highly regulated and controlled. The National Marine Fisheries Service regularly monitors the California Sea Lion population in US waters. The Mexican federal government’s Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) has conducted annual censuses and monitored the health of the California Sea Lion populations in the Gulf of California since 2011.