Tuesday March 12, 2024

The Chronicle

Funding for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to combat sea lion predation on the lower Columbia River and its tributaries was removed from the state’s operating budget during final negotiations, Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, announced Friday.

In a Friday news release, Wilson, who introduced the amendment, compared protecting the state’s sea lion population to “rooting for the New York Yankees.” The region loses about 12% of its salmon to predation, a percentage that has doubled since 2006.

“I was told they couldn’t bear the thought of euthanizing sea lions,” Wilson said. “With all due respect, I think my colleagues need to be educated about this threat to our struggling salmon and steelhead runs. Taking the side of the sea lions is a little like rooting for the New York Yankees.”

Last year, sea lions were spotted further up the Cowlitz River than ever before, and Wilson said since that time, he’s worked with fisheries officials, sportsmen’s organizations and other organizations to develop a plan of attack.

Read more >

Link copied successfully