King Salmon Speech a Monumental Distortion of the Science and the Facts
12/6/1999 — — Responding to Governor King’s internet posted speech regarding the Endangered Species (ESA) listing of Atlantic salmon, Trout Unlimited (TU) President and CEO Charles Gauvin expressed great disappointment about Governor King’s huge distortion of the science and facts.
“TU is stunned that the Governor continues to rely on voodoo science and unsubstantiated claims about the Endangered Species Act in the hope that it will save him from making the tough decisions to save the salmon,” stated Gauvin. “Had Governor King put the same amount of muscle behind the salmon ‘conservation plan’ as he is in attempting to avoid endangered species protection, he wouldn’t have this fight on his hands today.”
“Despite the lack of any credible scientific support, the Governor continues to claim that Maine’s salmon are not really salmon, at least when it comes to listing them under the ESA” stated Gauvin. “Even one of the state’s salmon biologists, as recently as this Tuesday (Maine Public Radio) publicly stated that the Atlantic salmon population unit identified by the federal agencies qualifies for listing under the ESA. That conclusion agrees with two separate scientific reviews conducted by the most knowledgeable fisheries scientists in the United States.” The Governor’s assertions also ignore the years of work that the states of the Pacific Northwest and the federal agencies have invested into determining distinct population segments of salmon and distinguishing between wild versus hatchery reared salmon.
Gauvin also took issue with the Governor’s characterizations of the Endangered Species Act. Governor King said that “it’s not an exaggeration” to say that a listing of salmon “really amounts to a partial takeover by the federal government of Washington, Penobscot and other counties involved.” “In fact, it’s a huge exaggeration. Twenty six years of applying the Endangered Species Act to trout and salmon has taught us that local economies don’t crumble, the lights do not go out, and the sky does not fall. This is fear mongering at its worst.”
King scapegoats out of state conservation groups in his speech. Trout Unlimited has hundreds of members in Maine who have worked extensively with Governor King and his agencies on trout and salmon restoration projects over the years, removal of the Edwards Dam and relicensing of hydropower projects in the Rangeley Lakes region to name but two recent successes. “The painful truth that the Governor seeks to avoid is that Maine salmon conservationists support listing Maine salmon as an endangered species because he and the state are turning their backs on this great resource and a listing is in the best interests of Maine salmon,” said Gauvin.
Founded in 1959 in Grayling, Michigan, Trout Unlimited is America’s leading coldwater fisheries conservation organization. TU’s 100,000 members in 500 chapters nationwide are dedicated to the conservation, protection, and restoration of North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Trout Unlimited’s Maine Council includes 1200 members , and TU’s members and chapters have played a leading role in documenting and protecting the remaining populations of Maine’s wild salmon.
Governor King’s Speech
Portland Press Herald Article: King Speech on Salmon Attacked
Associated Press Article: Trout Unlimited Lashes Out at King’s Speech
Washington Post Article: Maine Stews Over Plan to Override Salmon Policy