Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young voted in support of H.R 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act. Congressman Young is an original cosponsor of this legislation and issued the following statement after House passage:
“Anyone who lives in Southeast Alaska can tell you that sea lions, seals, and sea otters are destructive to fisheries if not properly managed. Sea lions have moved inland and up the Columbia River into salmon spawning grounds – areas they were not found in 30 years ago,” said Congressman Young. “The Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act is a step in the right direction to manage out-of-control sea lion populations. This legislation will help Pacific Northwest states and Tribes manage the sea lion population which will allow endangered salmon and steelhead to recover and reach healthy population sizes. I am a proud to cosponsor this legislation and pleased to see it pass out of the House today with bipartisan support.”
H.R. 2083 passed out of the House by a vote of 288-116. This bill allows for the humane management of sea lions on a limited basis to assist in the recovery of salmon in the Columbia River watershed. Sea lion consumption of salmon has dramatically increased since 2015 and experts estimate a 90% probability of Columbia River salmon extinction as a result of sea lion predation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cited California sea lions as a significant factor in the initial listing of salmon under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). H.R. 2083 assists in the recovery of salmon by authorizing Commerce to issue permits to states and tribes for the lethal taking of sea lions that are decimating ESA-listed salmon and establishes scientific management limits so that the authorities don’t result in sea lion mortality exceeding 10% of the biologically acceptable limit.