Western Conservation Director
503.351.2492 x. 11
2/28/2004 -- Portland, Ore. -- National conservation group Trout Unlimited staff today said that the dismissal by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals of conservation groups’ appeal of the landmark “Hogan Decision” ruling regarding Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listing of hatchery and wild salmon will allow NOAA Fisheries – the agency in charge – to take the proper action of listing only wild salmon and steelhead for ESA protection. While not part of the Hogan appeal, Trout Unlimited (TU) was one of two primary groups in April, 2002 which filed petitions with NOAA Fisheries to exclude ESA protection for hatchery-raised fish among 15 salmon and steelhead stocks located up and down the Pacific Coast.
“There can be no question that the wild fish are the resource deserving of protection under the Endangered Species Act,” said TU Western Conservation Director Jeff Curtis. “The rulings in this case allow NOAA Fisheries to do the right thing for that resource by listing only the wild fish among these stocks, and our petitions provide the vehicle for them to do so.”
Judge Hogan originally ruled that for salmon and steelhead stocks that are comprised both of hatchery and wild fish, NOAA Fisheries could not list only one component of that stock under the ESA, and not list the other. The stock in question in that ruling was the Oregon Coast coho salmon. That ruling triggered a number of actions, including a slew of petitions to de-list more than two-dozen listed stocks by virtue of their mixed hatchery/wild fish makeup. Trout Unlimited, however, believes that precedent should be used to secure protection exclusively for wild fish.
“Judge Hogan’s ruling gave us a legal foothold to bring ESA protections for wild fish in this region up to date with the latest science,” said Kaitlin Lovell of Trout Unlimited. “It’s the wild fish that need protection, and the science increasingly shows that one thing they need protection from is hatchery fish.”
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.