Baywolf, smalma and salmo I think are spot on, I agree with you tug on the surface.
But the devil lies in the details.
Feeding ANY animal in the state could get you a fine, from feeding ducks in some local lakes, to feeding by hand or close proximity another wild animal like a red fox..I figured this out after a FB posted video wink
I don't think he was malicious in the act BUUUT he was also on a tv show while he did it!! He made himself be made an example of, plain and simple.
We have had issues with seals and sea lions being too comfortable around people for quite some time now and it is a series of small actions like this that breed that kind of behavior IMO.
I think Tom should pay the damn fine, but I ALSO think the government has a responsibility to educate as well (which will be an interesting feat with his slander campaign).
Cut the fine a bit, educate on both sides and from both the goddamn reduced fine and take some f@cking accountability, be an adult!

And his [Bleeeeep!] rant about how NOAA should be dissolved just because of this, a war drum he still continues to if this is the ONLY thing that dept COMPLETELY f@cking childish and now pretty much the only reason I want to see him pay the whole fine or go to jail...Idgaf which. His childish nonsense is a mockery to the sport and the caring participants therein.
Viciousness with a shark with a funny hat!!

Lead by example in releasing wild Steelhead and other Salmonids the correct way!