Trout Unlimited Criticizes New Federal Policy

Just how gullible do the policy-makers think we are to swallow this kind of science?

Source: Trout Unlimited – Press Releases 2005 – Trout Unlimited.

Trout Trout Unlimited (TU) said that a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries) policy would lead to more controversy and lawsuits, and ultimately diminish the protection and hinder the recovery of Pacific salmon and steelhead.

The policy requires that salmon and steelhead born and reared in hatcheries and then released be considered alongside wild fish born and reared in rivers when weighing the need for ESA protection. Those considerations then become integral in assessing the overall health of a stock, ESA listing decisions, strategies for recovering imperiled stocks and more. Trout Unlimited said today NOAA’s announcement reflects a policy reversal that undermines decades of recovery strategies and actions targeted toward wild fish.

TU said the implications of combining wild and hatchery fish to determine protection levels is wrong-headed, and runs afoul of the judgment of legions of fisheries scientists who have examined the question of wild-versus-hatchery fish management.

"The conclusion of the vast majority of fisheries science’s finest minds who’ve studied this problem is that hatchery fish and wild fish are different animals and must be managed accordingly, especially under the auspices of the Endangered Species Act," said Dr. Jack Williams, senior scientist for Trout Unlimited. "It’s puzzling that NOAA Fisheries would issue a policy that contradicts the advice of its own scientists."

Jeff Curtis of TU pointed out that "the problem is that if you include hatchery fish – which in fact can be a threat to wild fish – in determining which fish qualify for protection under the Endangered Species Act, then you will always have trouble determining whether and how those hatchery fish will be protected. It is not only bad science, it is also goofy policy."

Under the new policy, for example, fish raised in concrete hatcheries and spawned in white plastic buckets from over 160 hatcheries which swim alongside wild fish will be protected under the ESA.