Press Releases

NOAA Gives Go-Ahead to Implement Herrera Beutler’s Sea Lion Removal Law

Herrera Beutler hails authorization to carry out her salmon recovery bill, signed into law in 2018; Tribal wildlife managers now able to begin sea lion control measures

Jaime Herrera Beutler hailed an announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today that it had granted final authorization of lethal sea lion removal in the Columbia River, made possible by Herrera Beutler’s bipartisan legislation signed into law in 2018.

“Today marks an important milestone in the bipartisan effort I’ve led to protect our endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the Northwest. With NOAA’s approval of these permits, wildlife managers can now finally take action and implement the sea lion control measure that tribes, fishermen, scientists, conservationists and local leaders have been calling for to preserve our native fish runs,” Herrera Beutler said.

The following entities were included in the application NOAA approved today, and are now authorized to lethally remove or place in captivity California sea lions and Steller sea lions:

  • State of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho
  • 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 Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community, and
  • The Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon.

The application pertains to the mainstem of the Columbia River between river mile 112 (I-205 bridge) and river mile 292 (McNary Dam), or any tributary of the Columbia River that includes spawning habitat of threatened or endangered salmon or steelhead to reduce or eliminate sea lion predation. 

The authorized removals represent a small fraction of the sea lion stocks, and will have negligible impacts on the population viability of these sea lion stocks,” wrote NOAA in its notice to members of Congress. NOAA Fisheries authorized the removal of no more than 540 California sea lions and no more than 176 Stellar sea lions through 2025.