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In a step in the right direction, the National Marine and Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced today that it would review its hatchery fish policy and refrain from appealing a federal judge’s recent Oregon coastal coho salmon ruling. U.S. District Judge Michael R. Hogan ruled this summer in Alsea Valley Alliance vs. Evans that NMFS erred by not including hatchery-bred salmon in determining Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings. Consequently, NMFS announced today that it would review its policy on 20 other ESA listings that include hatchery-bred salmon.
Members of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) in both Oregon and Washington have rallied to show that real people support and demand the use of common-sense science and did not want to see the Court’s decision appealed. In a little more than one week, a joint effort by CSE and Oregonians in Action (OIA) produced over 1,400 activist emails into the Bush Administration and thousands of calls into regional NMFS offices.
Heath Heikkila, of Washington Citizens for a Sound Economy, issued the following statement:
"NMFS made the right decision to let this common sense ruling stand. All over the Northwest more and more salmon are returning to spawn, yet there are still more than two-dozen salmon breeds listed as endangered. Washington CSE will continue to be organized and vocal on this issue, ensuring the government makes the soundest decision possible. Extreme environmentalists from all over the country - from as far away as Delaware – have pressured the Bush Administration to appeal this decision. That’s why we are ensuring that the administration continues to hear from citizens who have been careful stewards of Northwest land for generations.
"We will continue to mount grassroots campaigns in both states to ensure that all returning fish are counted and property rights are respected. I applaud NMFS for answering our calls for using common sense when balancing the needs of people, fish, and our environment."