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California sea lion surplus seen on Oregon coast

December 2, 2009 |  6:52 pm

California sea lions in 2008 relaxing on Seal Rock

The population of California sea lions along the Oregon coast appears higher than normal this year.

Biologists say it happens every few years, and it may be due to El Nino, the Pacific Ocean warming cycle.

The scientists say El Nino has pushed many of the so-called "forage fish" -- such as herring, squid, hake, sardine and anchovies -- north from California into Oregon waters.

Jim Rice of Oregon State University says the OSU Marine Mammal Stranding Network has gotten plenty of calls in the past month about the sea lions.

But Rice says don't worry, the sea lions are not stranded -- they're just following the food, and it's getting a little crowded.

-- Associated Press

File photo of California sea lions in 2008 relaxing on Seal Rock amid a pleasant day at sunset as viewed from a boat in Crescent Bay Beach, Laguna Beach. Credit: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times

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