Environmental groups sued the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Department this week to prevent the springtime release of more than 5 million hatchery-born salmon in the Puget Sound area. The groups, Washington Trout and the Native Fish Society, pointed to recent studies showing that hatchery fish are harming their wild-born brethren by out-competing them for space and food, and sometimes even eating them. Conservationists fear that by out-competing wild salmon, which are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act, the hatchery fish will also significantly shrink the genetic diversity of salmon species. Washington Trout’s Ramon Vanden Brulle dubbed the hatchery fish “a very significant impediment to salmon recovery.”