NMFS released a new hatchery policy in 2004 to address how hatchery fish should be considered in salmon listings. Fortunately, after reviewing the status of most of the salmon stocks, even in light of the new hatchery policy, NMFS decided to maintain the ESA listing status of all but one stock. Industry groups were not satisfied with this outcome, insisting that Judge Hogan’s decision meant that wild salmon must not be listed under the ESA if hatchery fish are abundant These groups filed a lawsuit to challenge the listings. Pacific Rivers stepped in to ensure that wild fish are protected.
Pacific Rivers wanted to make sure that sensitive salmon stocks retain essential ESA protections and that these protections are not reduced on the basis of abundant hatchery fish. Protection of sensitive species through listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is an essential ingredient in most conservation strategies. Threatened populations of salmon, steelhead and trout would likely go extinct without ESA protection. We were successful in achieving our goal when the Ninth Circuit upheld the ESA listing status for 16 salmon stocks on March 16, 2009.
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