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Schrader, Herrera Beutler Bill To Protect Endangered Salmon, Steelhead Passes Overwhelmingly In The House

The bipartisan Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act (H.R. 2083), introduced by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA-03), passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support today. The legislation improves the survival of endangered salmon, steelhead and other native fish species in the Columbia River system by providing tribal members and government fish managers with the means to remove sea lions from specific areas where they are posing the most harm. Historic recovery efforts of endangered salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia River have been compromised by exponentially increasing sea lion predation in recent years.

“Salmon are an important part of the culture, identity, and the economy of the people and tribes of the Pacific Northwest. It is one of the reasons why we’ve, as a region, put so much time, energy, and resources into protecting and recovering these iconic fish,” said Rep. Schrader. “Our bill will provide the states and tribal members the flexibility they need to protect these endangered fish and manage the threat posed by sea lion predation. I’m very pleased to have the support of so many of my colleagues in the House in tackling this issue in a bipartisan, thoughtful way. I want to thank Rep. Herrera Beutler and our states, tribes, and local communities for all of the hard work everyone has put in over several years now on this legislation and on working towards solutions to save our salmon.”

 Click to watch Rep. Schrader speak on the House floor on the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act.

 “For the salmon and steelhead fighting to make it upstream, today’s vote in the U.S. House significantly improves their chances of survival,” said Rep. Herrera Beutler. “The passage of my bipartisan bill signals a return to a healthy, balanced Columbia River ecosystem by reining in the unnatural, overcrowded sea lion population that is indiscriminately decimating our fish runs. We’re not anti-sea lion. We’re just for protecting a Pacific Northwest treasure: salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and other native fish species iconic to our region. My bill provides state and tribal managers with the tools they need to humanely manage the most problematic pinnipeds. Simply put, this measure cuts through the bureaucratic red tape, streamlines the permitting process, and allows states and tribes to rapidly respond to remove sea lions from areas they pose the most threat to salmon recovery. The joint, bipartisan effort from my House colleagues, most notably Rep. Schrader, plus the support and hard work of tribal officials, state and local wildlife agencies, fish conservation groups, and the work currently being done in the U.S. Senate, underscore the urgency of securing this measure, the last line of defense against entire fish runs becoming extinct. Today is about preserving our native salmon and steelhead for generations to come.”

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California sea lions have killed the largest proportion of spring Chinook salmon and steelhead in 2017 than any year since 2011. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates that at the current rate, the Willamette Winter Steelhead run faces a 90 percent chance of extinction if nothing changes.

The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act is supported by both Oregon Governor Kate Brown and Washington Governor Jay Inslee as well as the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife. For a list of federal, state, municipal, tribal, and other supporters, please click here.