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Legislation would restore spring-run Chinook and other fish populations through better management of sea lions

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act. The legislation would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to give state and tribal managers more flexibility in addressing predatory sea lions in the Columbia River system that are threatening both ESA-listed salmon and steelhead.

“Salmon consumption at the Bonneville Dam is five times what it was five years ago, and threatened and endangered species of salmon are being damaged by sea lions in the Columbia River,” said Senator Risch.

“Pacific salmon are central to our culture, our livelihoods, and our economy in the Pacific Northwest,” Senator Cantwell said. “Taxpayers throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon have made significant investments in Pacific salmon restoration, and we must continue to support science-based management methods to ensure future generations have access to wild Pacific Northwest salmon. I want to thank my colleague Senator Risch for working with me on this bipartisan, science-based solution that will help protect salmon for future generations.”

There are ESA threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead being significantly harmed by the increasing sea lion population. This predation of ESA-listed fish is negating the large investments being spent on salmon recovery associated with habitat, harvest, and hatcheries. 

If enacted, this bill would amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to provide for better management of these invasive, non-listed sea lions.