Vice President for Conservation Programs
4/29/2004 -- Washington -- North America’s largest trout and salmon organization, Trout Unlimited (TU), today criticized a proposal by the federal government to count hatchery fish in determining whether to protect salmon and steelhead under the Endangered Species Act.
“This policy circumvents the most basic tenets of the Endangered Species Act and effectively lets the federal government off the hook for any responsibility to recover salmon and healthy habitat up and down the West Coast and inland to Idaho,” said Jeff Curtis, western conservation director for Trout Unlimited. “Hatchery fish certainly have a role in restoring salmon runs and mitigating some of the damage inflicted by salmon declines, but they have no place in determining federal protections.”
Section 2 of the Endangered Species Act states the law’s purpose as providing “a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved.”
Chris Wood, vice president of conservation for TU, said, “Production of hundreds of millions of hatchery fish reared in plastic buckets and raised in concrete tanks cannot mask the fact that wild salmon need clean water, healthy habitat and rivers that allow them passage to the ocean. The administration’s proposal is, at best, an overly simplistic solution to complex ecological problems. At worst, it abuses science and common sense in a cynical effort to get out from under the habitat protection requirements of the Endangered Species Act.”
Mission: Trout Unlimited is North America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization, dedicated to the conservation, protection and restoration of trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds. The organization has more than 130,000 members in 450 chapters in North America.