Sport Fishing - - NEW PRODUCTS -

In the rivers of the Pa­cific North­west, mi­grat­ing salmon and steel­head trout stage at the base of dams such as the Bon­neville Dam on the Columbia River to en­ter fish lad­ders and other by­passes. At these bot­tle­necks, sea li­ons dec­i­mate the fish. Mak­ing mat­ters worse, many of these salmon and steel­head are listed on the fed­eral En­dan­gered Species list.

Leg­is­la­tion mov­ing through both houses of Congress at press time might help save the salmon and steel­head by mak­ing it eas­ier for fish­eries man­agers to kill sea li­ons. Both ver­sions of the En­dan­gered Salmon and Fish­eries Preser­va­tion Act would al­low the states of Idaho, Ore­gon and Wash­ing­ton to ap­ply for per­mits to trap and eu­th­a­nize prob­lem­atic sea li­ons.

The states al­ready have the abil­ity to kill of­fend­ing sea li­ons near the Bon­neville Dam, but the cur­rent Na­tional Marine Fish­eries Ser­vice per­mit­ting process is oner­ous and time-con­sum­ing. The new leg­is­la­tion would stream­line the process and al­low for the trap­ping of sea li­ons well be­fore they reach the stag­ing ar­eas for salmon and steel­head. The bill faces op­po­si­tion from an­i­mal-rights groups that want to re­fo­cus the is­sue on dams and habitat degra­da­tion rather than bur­geon­ing sea lion pop­u­la­tions.

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