McMorris Rodgers Cosponsors Legislation to Prevent Sea Lions from Preying on Endangered Salmon

(Washington, D.C.)  Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers recently cosponsored the bipartisan Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act, which authorizes the lethal removal of aggressive sea lions that are preying on endangered Columbia River salmon at the Bonneville Dam.

“We must prevent these sea lions from eating and injuring the endangered salmon that we are spending millions of dollars to protect,” said McMorris Rodgers. “After many failed attempts to deter the sea lions, this bill is a necessary step in order to protect the salmon.”

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it can take three to five years for wildlife managers to get permission from the federal government to remove aggressive sea lions. The Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act would create a temporary expedited process to obtain permits for the lethal removal of a limited number of California sea lions preying on salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River. The streamlined process could be used in cases where non-lethal methods to discourage sea lion predation have been ineffective.

In recent years, over 1,000 California sea lions have entered the lower 205 miles of the Columbia River during the peak spring salmon run. It is estimated sea lions are taking 3 to 4 percent of spring Chinook salmon runs, up to 4,000 salmon, injuring thousands more.

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