Columbia River salmon and steelhead have a historical significance to our region. Sportsmen, recreational and commercial fishing businesses, tribes, and our coastal communities depend on healthy fish runs. And I have been working hard in Congress to preserve and bolster our native fish populations.
Removing sea lions
A growing sea lion population in the Columbia River poses one of the biggest threats to our wild salmon and steelhead runs. I successfully led passage of a bipartisan bill through Congress, the Endangered Salmon and Fisheries Predation Prevention Act, which the president signed into law in December of 2018. This historic effort will improve the survival of endangered salmon, steelhead and other native fish species in the Columbia River system by protecting them from sea lion predation. My bill authorizes the lethal removal of some of the worst offending California and stellar sea lions from specific areas where they feast on endangered fish. We have already seen results of fish runs rebounding after the careful removal of sea lions in nearby Willamette Falls.
Increasing hatchery production
As I travel around Southwest Washington listening to folks talk about what fishing means to them, I consistently hear the same thing from sportsmen, commercial fishermen and tribes: We must increase the hatchery production of salmon on the Columbia River. After my sea lion bill became law, bolstering hatchery production is the next best step we can take for our salmon runs.
As a member of the Appropriations Committee that sets spending levels for the federal government, I have consistently fought to increase funding for hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest. I helped secure more than $35 million to implement the Pacific Salmon Treaty that protects and expands Pacific salmon stocks habitat, as well as increases hatchery production. Additionally, I successfully fought to secure $22 million – the largest amount in half a decade -- to boost hatchery production of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin. This program that has produced millions of fish for harvest, along with 1.300 jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity – and I hope to increase those results.