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Judge Upholds Protection for Wild Salmon

Developers and farm groups fail to convince judge that hatchery-bred salmon are legally identical to wild salmon.


Down But Not Out

In 2001, Judge Michael Hogan of the federal court in Oregon, in a case brought on behalf of developers and agricultural interests, ruled that the National Marine Fisheries Service had broken the law when it decided to protect wild coastal Oregon coho salmon under the Endangered Species Act but not list their hatchery counterparts.

Can You Count?

So NMFS rewrote its procedures and decided to list both wild and hatchery fish but to treat them differently, protecting wild stocks and allowing harvest of hatchery fish in some circumstances. Developers sued, claiming that the wild and hatchery stocks are genetically identical and, given the numbers of hatchery fish, that listing was illegal.

The Situation Is Clarified

In July, Judge Hogan found for the salmon -- 16 separate populations in this case -- supporting scientists and environmental groups that had argued that it was "biologically indefensible" to lump the wild and hatchery salmon together and conclude that they should not be listed.

Office:  Northwest
Program Area:  The Wild
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