Earthjustice Press Release Concerning Wild versus Hatchery Steelhead
"Seattle, Washington-- Six conservation organizations have filed a two-pronged challenge to a decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service to reclassify upper Columbia River steelhead stocks as threatened rather than endangered based on the agency's 2005 decision to count both wild and hatchery-raised fish together, even though the agency conceded that hatchery fish pose a threat to the survival and recovery of the wild steelhead.
"'The purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to protect wildlife's ability to sustain itself in the wild. And that means the focus in on wild steelhead in rivers, not steelhead that are produced in hatcheries,' said Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman. She represents Trout Unlimited, American Rivers, Pacific Rivers Council, Wild Steelhead Coalition, Native Fish Society, and the Sierra Club in the litigation.
"The suit asks the court to set aside the downlisting of upper Columbia steelhead, declare the listing policy inadequate, and order the administration to reconsider a request to consider wild and hatchery fish separately."