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Sea lion lunges at Sitka fisherman

Sea lions touch noses as one clambers onto a buoy near feeding whales in Sitka Sound. Sea lions follow humpbacks, eating herring stunned or killed during feeding. Photo by Ed Schoenfeld.

Sea lions touch noses as one clambers onto a buoy in Sitka Sound. (CoastAlaska photo/ Ed Schoenfeld)

A 19 year old Sitka man had a run-in with a sea lion at Seafood Producers Cooperative on Saturday(1-25-14).

Alaska State Troopers say the man was sitting on the railing of a fishing vessel when a large bull pounced. The sea lion jumped out of the water and attempted to bite him — on the behind, causing the man to fall forward into the vessel.

The bitten man was a crew member on the Sitka-based Fishing Vessel Confidence, which was offloading bait herring at the time, according to State Troopers Spokesperson Megan Peters.

Julie Speegle, a spokesperson with the National Marine Fisheries Service says the man did not require medical attention.  “There were no puncture wounds, just abrasions,” she said.

According to Speegle, quote,  “it isn’t unheard of for big and powerful wild animals to habituate to humans, and see us as a food source.” Troopers do not believe that the crew was feeding sea lions, but, just to be safe, officials are reminding fisherman and hunters to dispose of waste properly, rather than dumping carcasses or scraps in the harbor.

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