Bush Administration Will Continue to Protect Wild Salmon

Responding to a hurricane of criticism over its plans to count hatchery fish along with wild fish in determining which species to protect under the Endangered Species Act, the Bush administration is now pledging to safeguard wild salmon in the Pacific Northwest. It announced on Friday that “conservation of naturally spawning salmon and the ecosystems upon which they depend” will remain the central focus of its policy and that 25 of 26 salmon runs currently listed as endangered or threatened will likely remain so. The surprising announcement was met with guarded praise from enviros, who said the true test will come when the full policy is announced later this month. Business and development groups, in sharp contrast, reacted with outrage. Attorneys for the Pacific Legal Foundation, which has filed suit over salmon listings in the past, promised to take the administration back to court over the issue.