House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Protect Endangered Fish Species in Pacific Northwest

House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Protect Endangered Fish Species in Pacific Northwest

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, with a bipartisan vote of 288 Members, including 68 Democrats. Introduced by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), this bipartisan bill provides states and tribes the necessary tools to humanely manage sea lions that have migrated outside their historic range and pose an imminent threat to fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

“The habitual Washington D.C. knee-jerk defense of the status quo is harming endangered species instead of protecting them. The fact of the matter is that the existing regulations are leading to the decline in endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest, a key source of ecological vibrancy in the region. This bipartisan bill corrects the problem by giving states and tribes the tools to humanely manage sea lions and prevent further destruction of endangered fish and the region’s economy.  I appreciate Rep. Beutler’s hard work on this legislation. It is surprising that certain Democrats, including the Ranking Member of the Committee, voted against saving endangered species and empowering tribes to exercise their treaty rights,” Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) stated.  

“With today’s passage of my bipartisan bill to improve the survival of endangered salmon and steelhead, we’re taking a giant step forward in restoring an ecosystem sorely out of balance. The sea lion predation problem on the Columbia River will not go away without intervention from local and tribal managers and I’m pleased that working with House Natural Resources committee, we’re now able to give these officials the tools they need to remove the most problematic sea lions and protect our native fish runs,” Rep. Beutler said.  

“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. 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,” Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) stated.  

Stakeholder support for the legislative proposal includes:

After witnessing the alarming increase in sea lion predation on salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and lamprey in the Columbia and Willamette rivers in recent years, we believe that it is incumbent upon Congress to provide the Northwest’s state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies more effective options for protecting our fish and fisheries from these aggressive predators. Failure to do so risks the extinction of some of our most precious and important fish species, including at-risk populations of spring Chinook salmon. Thank you for taking the initiative to introduce this legislation and raise the visibility of this increasingly serious issue.” – Henry Lorenzen, chair of the Northwest Power and Conservation Center

On behalf of the hundreds of hard working commercial fishermen we represent, we write to request your SUPPORT for H.R. 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act. This bill would allow state and tribal wildlife managers to apply for a permit to humanely euthanize individual marine mammals in the Columbia River that are known to prey on endangered salmon as they line up at fish ladders attempting to return to their natal streams to spawn. This bill provides an immediate, surgical solution to a significant problem in a highly impacted western river, the Columbia.” Noah Oppenheim, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations

None of us can ever forget what happened at Ballard Locks in Seattle, starting in the mid- 1980s. Sea lions ate so many winter run steelhead heading through the locks to Lake Washington that the run of fish is no longer viable. At the time, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife was practicing all manner of nonlethal management actions of the sea lions–to no effect… We must protect our iconic salmon and steelhead and we would be deeply grateful for your acknowledgement that the issue of pinniped predation in the Columbia river must be addressed legislatively. We cannot thank you enough for your support on this issue.” Northwest Sport Fishing Industry Association on behalf of over 100 recreational fishing groups including the American Sport Fishing Association

As directors of the co-managing agencies charged with conserving fish and wildlife in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, we are writing to express our support for HR 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act… Passage of this legislation is critical to ensuring we can manage the ever-increasing issue of predation on sturgeon, lamprey, and Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basin.” joint letter from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Idaho State Department of Fish and Game, and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

This situation continues to expand supporters of this legislation among diverse interests in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Our joint support represents that healthy salmon and steelhead runs are critical to the future of the Columbia River treaty tribes and utilities. This bill would give fisheries managers greater tools to appropriately reduce predation of these endangered fish.” joint letter from Scott Corwin, executive director of the Public Power Council and Jaime Pinkham, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission  

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Source: Natural Resources
House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Protect Endangered Fish Species in Pacific Northwest

Talk about South Carolina!