House passed H.R. 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act
by a bipartisan vote of 288-116
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Members of the Congressional Western Caucus including Chairman Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Chief Rules Officer Dan Newhouse (WA-04), House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01), Vice-Chairman for Indian Affairs and Oceans Don Young (AK-At Large), Western Caucus Members Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and Kurt Schrader (OR-05) along with numerous local and national stakeholders issued statements after the House passed H.R. 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, by a bipartisan vote of 288-116:
“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 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 for generations to come,” stated Congresswoman Herrera Beutler.
Congressman Gosar stated, “Allowing states and local governments to manage sea lion predation in the Northwest is just common sense. Taxpayers have doled out billions of dollars to increase these salmon populations and we shouldn’t allow exploding sea lion populations to decimate these fisheries and undermine that progress. I am grateful for the efforts of Western Caucus Members Herrera Beutler, Schrader, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers and Don Young. Today’s strong bipartisan vote is a result of their strong leadership.”
H.R. 2083 Background:
• Today, June 26, 2018, the House passed H.R. 2083, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, a bill introduced by Western Caucus Members Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) and Kurt Schrader (OR-05) by a bipartisan vote of 288-116.
• This important legislation aims to protect the further degradation of the salmon, steelhead and sturgeon populations in the Northwest by allowing for the humane management of sea lions, a natural predator of salmon in the Columbia River watershed.
• H.R. 2083 clarifies and streamlines the authorities authorized under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA).
• The MMPA prohibits, with specified exceptions, the killing of marine mammals in United States waters or by United States citizens at sea. This federal law provides a conflicting mandate and limited flexibility to address broader ecological interactions, such as the one observed in the Pacific Northwest with sea lions and salmon species.
• Section 120 of the MMPA does allow for states to apply to the Secretary of Commerce for the lethal taking of specified predator seals or sea lions that negatively impact endangered salmon. As a result, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) authorized the States of Oregon, Idaho, and Washington to remove sea lions in 2008 and reauthorized this authority again in 2016.
• Frivolous litigation challenging these permits and their requirements is the primary reasons H.R. 2083 is necessary. Under certain conditions, the bill clarifies that one-year permits can be issued to states and tribes for lethal take of sea lion populations that are decimating endangered salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in the Lower Columbia River and other specified tributaries. The bill includes an important provision that ensures sea lion mortality will not exceed 10% of the biologically acceptable limit.
Supporting H.R. 2083 Are the Following Organizations
The Governors of Washington, Oregon and Idaho
More than 100 Pacific Northwest businesses
The Public Power Council & Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations
Directors of Co-Managing Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho