Earlier this week, the U.S House of Representatives passed passed a bill allowing permit holders to kill sea lions along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in an effort to protect threatened fish populations.
Sea lions gather at Bonneville Dam and gorge themselves on salmon and steelhead that try to make their way upriver to spawn. The Daily Astorian reports that officials in Oregon and Washington have tried using non-lethal methods of removing sea lions, but they eventually return to the dam. The Marine Mammal Protection Act has kept these mammals from being killed.
Washington Rep. Jaime Beutler sponsored the bill along with four cosponsors: Washington Reps. Dan Newshouse, Cathy Rodgers, Oregon’s Rep. Kurt Schrader and Arkansas's Rep. Don Young. It details a plan for issuing permits that will allow for no more than 100 sea lions to be killed each year.
Idaho is one of states that would be permitted to allow sea lion killing. Others include Washington, Oregon, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe.
Earlier this week, we reported that Idaho Senator Jim Risch is sponsoring a similar bill in the Senate that is still awaiting a committee hearing.
Find reporter Blake Simony on Twitter @BlakeSimony
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