Sat, Jan 26, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Sea lion bites US fisher, attempts to drag him into sea

AP, ANCHORAGE, Alaska

A sea lion last weekend lunged onto a fishing boat off the Aleutian Islands, biting a crew member in the leg and trying to pull him into the water, officials said.

It marked the third time since 2017 that Stellar sea lions have bitten fishers from Sand Point, Alaska, in their legs.

Crew members who were on the boat on Sunday during the latest attack took the man to a clinic, where he was treated for his injuries and released, Sand Point police officer David Anderson told the Anchorage Daily News.

The newspaper reported that the crew member was helping pull up a net when the sea lion lurched up the stern ramp of the boat and bit him, attempting to drag him into the water.

The newspaper said it could not immediately reach the injured man for comment on Wednesday.

Attacks by sea lions are unusual, but not unheard of over the past few years.

Early last year, a sea lion bit a woman in the knee as she swam in San Francisco Bay. That followed at least two other attacks on swimmers in the bay in late 2017. In one of those, a sea lion bit a man’s groin area and in the other, a sea lion bit a man’s arm.

In Sand Point, a fisher was attacked by a sea lion last fall, suffering similar injuries as the man in the Sunday attack, Anderson said.

In another Sand Point attack in January 2017, a fisherman was bitten on the calf while he worked on a boat.

He reported that the animal tried to drag him into the water.

Sand Point Harbor Master Richard Kochuten Sr said that he has no idea why sea lions have bitten people in his community.

It is far more common for sea lions to get on boats to grab a fish and then go back into the water without harming anyone, he said.

“It’s an occasional occurrence,” he added.

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