Salmon Science Panel Claims Report Was Censored

Another day, another batch of scientists ticked off at the Bush administration. This week, it’s the Recovery Science Review Panel, an independent board of biologists and ecologists charged by the National Marine Fisheries Service with studying the effect of hatchery salmon on wild salmon populations. The panel claims that its report, which was critical of the Bush administration’s proposal to include hatchery salmon in its determination of the size and health of salmon runs, was disregarded by policymakers. To publicize their findings, panel members published an editorial today in the journal Science. At issue is the possible removal of a variety of salmon populations from protection under the Endangered Species Act. “There are different opinions and a great deal of uncertainty in science,” said Usha Varanasi, director of the NMFS northwest fisheries science center. But Robert Paine, a member of the panel, didn’t seem uncertain: “The science is clear and unambiguous. As they are currently operated, hatcheries and hatchery fish cannot protect wild stocks.”