There are several threads already posted here in various forums on this issue.
The reality of this is Judge Hogan's ruling on including hatchery fish numbers in the decision to list a particular coho run on a particular Oregon river system and Judge Redden's ruling that NOAA must rewrite the Pacific Salmon Recovery Plan by June 2, 2004 to include hatchery fish when there is no significant genetic difference between the hatchery fish and wild fish in a rivery system are legal requirements that have changed the landscape of listing fish as endangered or threatened. NOAA Fisheries is responding to the legal realities of these two court decisions.
We must all keep in mind that science findings and legal court rulings are not the same thing. Just because science says something is when based upon DNA differences does not mean that legally the courts can say that difference is present. Hogan based his ruling on the legal requirements within the Endangered Species Act, and Redden used the legal requirements of the ESA and Hogan's decision (ruling) in his ordering (ruling) NOAA Fisheries to rewrite the Pacific Salmon Recovery Plan. From a legal standpoint is is virtually impossible to say a coho is not still a coho, a chinook is not still a chinook, a pink is not still a pink, a chum is not still a chum, a sockeye is not still a sockeye, or a steelhead is not still a steelhead just because one is a hatchery fish and one is a wild fish in the same river.