Recently, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed to list 23 steelhead and salmon hatchery programs under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The idea that the federal government would protect fish manufactured in labs under the ESA – the pinnacle of wild species protection policy – is absurd. But it becomes even more ridiculous when you consider that these manufactured fish pose a serious genetic and ecological threat to their wild counterparts, which are already ESA-listed.
While certain specialized hatchery programs can assist the recovery of wild runs that are on the very edge of extinction, this NMFS proposal is a dangerous step that could have cascading effects and undermine chances for wild steelhead recovery. As a result, the Wild Steelhead Coalition strongly opposes this proposal and is uniting with conservation organizations up and down the West Coast to tell NMFS not to proceed with this proposal.
Recently, our good friends over at Patagonia joined the fight by posting a story on their blog The Cleanest Line about the need to stop this proposal from moving forward. Be sure to check it out and join the fight to stop hatchery steelhead and salmon programs from being listed under the ESA.