Court Ruling Puts All Salmon Protections at Risk
In a decision that could undermine protections for salmon throughout the West, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan on Wednesday ordered that Oregon coastal coho salmon no longer be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Hogan said federal biologists were wrong to count only wild fish and not the more numerous hatchery-born coho when it decided to list the fish for protection. Bill Moshofsky, executive director of an Oregon property rights group, said, “It’s what we’ve been saying all along: Hatchery fish and wild fish are the same.” The ruling jeopardizes nearly two dozen listings of salmon and steelhead made by the National Marine Fisheries Service since 1991. NMFS has not yet decided whether to appeal the case.