Pacific Salmon Runs Remain Under ESA Protection [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Pacific Salmon Runs Remain Under ESA Protection

05-15-2004, 11:23 PM
Our local newspaper, the Skagit Valley Herald ( had an article in it today, May 15th with this thread's title. It makes very interesting reading and shows that the adminstration through NOAA-F is not hell-bent on using hatchery fish to delist threatened or endangered Pacific salmon

Among the more interesting things in the article (which was authored by Jeff Barnard an AP Environemental Writer according to the his byline) are the following. I will let it stand without comment except those I added for clarity or to remind readers were the impetus for NOAA-F to take the action they have came from.

"...all but one of the 26 salmon runs listed as threatened or endangered are likely to retain federal protection, despite a proposal to count hatchery fish as equivalent to wild ones."

"Commerce Undersecretary Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr. who oversees the federal agency responsible for restoring dwindling salmon populations [remember the agency referred to is NOAA-F], wrote in a letter to Congress that a final porposal will be ready in two weeks, but 'we have preliminarily determined to propose relisting at least 25 of the 26 species'."

"Jim Myron, a natural resources advisor, said from Salem, 'From what I understand they were feeling a lot of heat over the way a one-page internal document was being interpreted. I'm sure this is their attempt to set the record straight and clarify the confusion that existed."

"NOAA-F decided to overhall its policy on hatchery operations and review all the salmon listing. [Flyter's note: This is very disingenuous onMr. Barnard's part to state this as a stand-alone paragrpah, especially when he explains why NOAA-F had to overhall its salmon policy in the very next paragraph, which follows herein.]

"The decision [flytyer's note: remember the decision referred to is the one in the above paragraph.] came after U.S. District Judge Hogan in Eugene, OR dissolved the threatened species listing for Oregon coastal coho, based on a lawsuit brought by property rights advocates."

"Hogan ruled that NOAA-F must protect fish spawned in hatcheries if they were part of the same specific population as fish spawned in the wild." [Flytyer's note: notice the judge ordered their inclusion, it wasn't NOAA-F's decision to do so.]

"Lautenbacher wrote that it was never the government's intention to subsitute salmon hatcheries for naturally spawning salmon, but that hatcheries were playing an important tole in restoring depleted runs."

"The central tenet of the hatchery policy is the conservation of naturally spawning slamon and the ecosystems upon which they depend. As our preliminary conclusions indicate, appropriate consideration of hatchery fish does not lead to wholesale de-listing of species as some are claiming."

"Equally erroneous is the suggestion our policy would allow the purposes of ESA to be satisfied by having all the salmon in a hatchery."

"The letter came as U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (D. CA) and others were circulating a letter demanding NOAA-F hold off adopting a final hatchery policy until it went through scientific and public reviews."

"NOAA-F is scrambling to meet a may 28 deadline set by a federal judge {Flytyer's note: remember Judge Redden's order to NOAA-F?] to review listings of eight salmon species [Fytyer's note: notice Redden ordered NOAA-F to review 8 salmon stocks, it wasn't undertaken by NOAA-F of their own volition, it was under coercion of Judge Redden.] based on another lawsuit brought by the Building Industry Association of Washington [meaning Washington State]. NOAA-F hopes to release the new hatchery policy proposal at the same time, agency spokeswoman Janet Sears said from Seattle."

"Sears said the one population taking longer to evaluate is mid-columbia steelhead, which includes Oregon's famed Deschutes River steelhead. The delay was not related to the hatchery policy. Biologist were gathering more information."