Senate Commerce Committee Approves Sea Lion Predation Bill to Protect Salmon

Bill to protect salmon from excessive predation clears committee process

Alexandria, VA – August 1, 2018  – Today, the Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill to address the devastation of Columbia River salmon by sea lions. The Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act, S. 3143 passed the committee by voice vote.

“The Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over marine fisheries, has demonstrated that it is serious about tackling one of the most pressing issues facing Northwest fisheries,” said ASA’s Government Affairs Vice President, Scott Gudes. “Unchecked predation of endangered and recreationally important salmon stocks by sea lions has the potential to make salmon extinct.”

Introduced by Sens. James Risch (R-Idaho) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), S. 3119, the Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act, will address the growing threat posed to salmon by the presence and predation of sea lions at migratory bottlenecks in the Columbia River.

Salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest are extremely important to the region’s anglers and the economy. These salmon populations face significant environmental threats, and one of the factors undermining salmon restoration is sea lion predation.

This legislation will empower trained state and tribal managers to better combat the negative consequences of unchecked sea lion predation on salmon and sturgeon at environmental pinch points such as at the base of dams in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Managers will take a more proactive approach to remove problem animals before they habituate to these locations, all while preserving the spirit of bedrock environmental laws.

Companion legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives on June 27, 2018.

Gudes observed: “To enjoy our sport, anglers are out on the water. They are close to the environment and see resource threats and impacts firsthand. Today, anglers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and moreover around the nation, can thank these Senators for standing up for conservation and balanced resource management.”