House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings says killing sea lions is sometimes the only option for managers trying to protect salmon and steelhead at Bonneville Dam.
Hastings released the following statement in response to the National Marine Fisheries Service announcement that it will not appeal a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that would block states and tribal entities from lethally removing California sea lions that feast on endangered salmon:
“I am disappointed in the federal agency’s announcement that they will not appeal the ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After trying all other methods, lethal removal is sometimes the only option left to stop problem sea lions. Northwest residents spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year to protect salmon and taking this important tool away from our communities means they will have to sit by while a few sea lions gorge themselves on thousands of endangered fish. This is unacceptable and I will be exploring options to address this problem.”
In past Congresses, Hastings has introduced legislation that would speed up the permitting process for state and tribal agencies to capture and kill problem sea lions.