Sea lion spotted on Richmond dock this week (PHOTOS)
It’s herring fishing season again in parts of BC, which means the sea lions are out and visible around the docks.
They particularly seem to like Fisherman’s Wharf in Steveston, where a sea lion pulled a girl into the water back in 2017. It was captured in a viral video, which shows her feeding the animal fish — until it lunges forward and grabs her by the shirt.
It hasn’t happened since then, but there is a sea lion back on the boards, according to reports from residents who saw one on February 3, 2022.
Janice Sieg, owner of Pierside Deli at Fisherman’s Wharf, has been living there for 15 years and says she’s never seen a sea lion hop up on the dock before.
“There were a couple fishermen in my store. One was sitting there eating breakfast and said, ‘Oh, look! There’s a sea lion sitting on the back of the dock where the whale watching boats park,” she said.
Sieg instantly grabbed her binoculars to get a look and saw a huge sea lion “just chilling” there. She and a fisherman stayed at a distance and zoomed in to take pictures safely.
Tammy Taylor with Vancouver Whale Watch saw a picture of the animal and identified it as an adult male California sea lion.
As an expert, she also hypothesizes that he was “just chilling” on the docks.
“For this particular Californian Sea Lion, there were no boats there. It’s a rainy, quiet day, and for whatever reason, he was able to get himself up,” she says.
“Maybe he felt safe enough to jump on and was kind of just chilling, but you would never see that in the summertime with a bunch of people around.”
She was surprised to see him there because they usually swim around the docks instead of hoisting themselves up onto the platform. Taylor had never seen it happen before.
The area has been cordoned since then, perhaps to avoid a repeat of the 2017 incident. Sieg was actually there when it happened, but she says she’s not too concerned about the sea lion spotting this year.
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“I’m not worried, no. Every year they’re around. I’m honestly just surprised they came up on the dock,” she said.
But she adds, “We can’t have a bunch of people heading down there” and risk a “repeat of 2017.”
“The sea lions, they were here way before us, and as long as we stay away and make sure they don’t take over the docks, we can do this safely,” continued Sieg.
“The Harbour and Fisheries [department] are smart. They know what to do, as long as you don’t walk up to them and take pictures.”
Taylor agrees it’s best to keep your distance.
“You don’t want to be feeding any wildlife but you definitely don’t want to be feeding these guys,” she said.