Sea lion takes California fisherman for a plunge
April 7, 2015
A fisherman was posing for a photo with fish he caught in a San Diego bay when a sea lion leaped out of the water, chomped on the fish and dragged the 62-year-old man into bay. [Mercury News]
The sea lion pulled the fisherman by his arm to the bottom of the 20-foot deep Mission Bay around 4 p.m. Sunday. The man was submerged for 15 to 20 seconds before the sea lion let him go and he rose to the surface.
Responders transported the fisherman in an ambulance to a hospital, and the attack left bloodstains on the boat. The man endured no major injuries, though, and reportedly just had cuts on his hands and feet.
The incident caught most people in the area by surprise, but boaters at a San Diego marina say sea lions have been acting aggressively toward humans lately. Sea lions have chased people who are boarding their boats, one boater said.
In California, more than 1,600 starving sea lions have washed up on the shore this year with more than 500 on the Central Coast.
Some scientists blame overpopulation. Historically, it was estimated approximately 40,000 sea lions lived in the waters off California, now that number has swelled to over 300,000.
Another theory is that climate change is to blame. Because of warmer ocean temperatures, dwindling fish populations have forced sea lion mothers to spend more time at sea hunting food while their babies are left behind.