PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon and Washington can continue killing certain California sea lions that prey on endangered salmon and steelhead near the Bonneville Dam, NOAA Fisheries announced Wednesday.
Idaho was also authorized to lethally remove sea lions that have a “significant negative impact” on the fish, which are listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The animals ate nearly 10,000 adult spring Chinook salmon in 2015, according to NOAA. That’s reportedly more than 3% of returning adult fish at the dam.
About 25-35% of fish eaten by sea lions are considered endangered.
NOAA’s move authorizes Oregon, Washington and Idaho to continue killing predatory sea lions through June 30, 2021. Each of the states reported an increase in sea lion populations and consumption of salmon since 2013. By continuing to kill predatory sea lions, the states hope to “prevent these stocks from being further depressed.”
The states have removed 166 sea lions since 2008, according to NOAA.
For more information on sea lion management at the Bonneville Dam, click here.