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Bill Seeks to Allow Tribes to Kill Salmon-Eating Sea Lions

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A bill introduced in Congress would allow some Northwest Indian tribes to kill a limited number of sea lions that prey on endangered salmon in the Columbia River.

The bipartisan bill was introduced last weekend by U.S. House members Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Wash., and Kurt Schrader, D-Ore. If passed, the bill would allow the Warm Springs, Umatilla, Yakama, and Nez Perce tribes to kill some sea lions that are decimating salmon during their return from the ocean to inland spawning grounds. Currently only the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho can kill sea lions.

Last year, approximately 190 sea lions killed over 9,500 adult spring chinook within sight of Bonneville Dam, according to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in Portland, Oregon. That represented a 5.8 percent loss.

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