Interesting Article from NOAA; as with most studies. One can spin the numbers to support ones viewpoint. This article supports the govt. supposition that there's enough Sea Lions and it's O.k. to cull some.
According to this article The population went from: "Less than 90,000 animals in 1975" and "It then fluctuated around that level, reaching a high of 306,220 in 2012 before declining below the carrying capacity in the years since as ocean conditions changed.
"Marine conditions since 2012 have illustrated that. An unusual marine heat wave off the West Coast known as “the blob” combined with an El Niño climate pattern reduced pup production and survival, with thousands of malnourished pups stranding on Southern California beaches. NOAA Fisheries declared the elevated number of deaths an Unusual Mortality Event in 2013." "in 2013 and 2014 the population was down to 250,000 animals." I didn't see any data after 2014.
This isn't my Photo. Couldn't find an owner.