House approves Wilcox bill to investigate impacts of avian predation on salmon in Washington

With a 97-0 vote on Monday, the state House approved a bill sponsored by Rep. J.T. Wilcox that aims to study the impacts of avian predation on the health of salmon populations in Washington state.

House Bill 2293 would establish the Avian Salmon Predation Work Group, which would be comprised of representatives from various stakeholder groups, including federally recognized Indian tribes with treaty fishing rights, commercial and recreational fishers, conservation organizations, and state and federal agencies like the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The work group’s primary mission would be identifying the specific bird species preying on juvenile salmon, analyzing the extent of their impact at a population level, and determining if these predators pose a threat to the recovery of any endangered salmon species. Based on their findings, the work group would then be tasked with exploring and recommending balanced approaches to address the identified issues, with solutions aimed at ensuring the health of both salmon and bird populations, taking into account the ecological, economic, and cultural significance of both groups.

“Our state’s failure to effectively recover salmon runs impacts every Washingtonian—from landowners to loggers, farmers to fishers, and everyone in between who relies on healthy salmon populations for their livelihoods, sustenance, and cultural heritage,” said Wilcox, R-Yelm. “Understanding the role of avian predation is crucial in our efforts to address this significant challenge, restore our runs, and ensure the sustainable future of salmon in Washington state for generations to come.”

The Avian Salmon Predation Work Group would be required to submit a report outlining their findings and recommendations to the Legislature and the Department of Fish and Wildlife by June 30, 2025.

House Bill 2293 now heads to the Senate for further deliberation.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov