Federal Judge Tosses Out Hatchery Fish Inclusion in ESA Consideration

T. U., FFF and other conservation groups are breathing a sigh of relief after a federal judge in Seattle ruled against a National Marine Fisheries policy that included hatchery-raised fish with wild fish when considering protections for upper Columbia River steelhead. In the judge’s words: “‘Though it scarcely seems open to debate, the Court concludes that in evaluating any policy or listing determination under the ESA [Endangered Species Act], its pole star must be the viability of naturally self-sustaining populations in their naturally-occurring habitat,’ Coughenour wrote. ‘To be sure, the inclusion of hatchery fish alongside natural fish … strikes the Court as odd.'” Alex Fryer in the Seattle Times.
Felicity Barringer also writes about Wednesday’s ruling in The New York Times: “‘This counting method, the judge, John C. Coughenour, wrote, ‘departs from the law’s central purpose, which is to promote and conserve naturally self-sustaining populations.’”

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