Congressman Jeff Denham is hoping to safeguard threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead by removing a known predator fish from mandatory protection measures with the Save Our Salmon Act of 2016, which he introduced earlier this week.
The predator fish in question is the striped bass, which is an anadromous fish species not native to California. Denham aims to exclude the species from the anadromous fish doubling requirement of the Central Valley Project Improvement Act, which requires doubling the natural production of Central Valley populations of anadromous fish within ten years, to protect the many populations of native salmon and steelhead that call California home—many of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
The CVPIA has led to sending millions of acre-feet of water to the ocean and millions of dollars being spent every year to protect fish populations across the Central Valley.
“Our devastating drought has been made worse annually by the Obama administration in conjunction with environmental extremists who prioritize fish over families,” said Denham. “Yet they push out millions of acre-feet and fail to address predator species, which their own estimates have shown eat 98 percent of endangered fish species. We must stop the crazy cycle of spending money on both the fish we want to save and the fish that kill them.”
In the Save Our Salmon Act 2016, Denham cited the National Marine Fisheries Service, who said, “reducing abundance of striped bass and other non-native predators must be achieved to prevent extinction of Central Valley salmon and steelhead or to prevent the species from declining irreversibly.”Striped bass prey on
“Therefore, the CVPIA’s fish-doubling goal for two competing species is contradictory and counter-productive for salmon and steelhead recovery,” the bill states.
This is not the first piece of legislation Denham has introduced regarding predation as he previously proposed a bill to establish a pilot program to study predator fish on the Stanislaus River in 2013 and an amendment to make salmon and steelhead recovery plans more effective by ensuring focus on predation control efforts in 2015. Both years, his legislation passed the House.
The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources on Tuesday. The committee will consider it before deciding to send it on to the House of Representatives or Senate.