Fisheries Service Crafting Steps to Delist Salmonby Associated Press
Seattle Times - March 28, 2002
HERMISTON, Ore. -- The National Marine Fisheries Service is drawing up conditions under which Pacific Coast salmon populations could be removed from the federal Endangered Species List, officials said.
Bob Lohn, regional administrator for the fisheries service, said the agency also will detail in its report how many fish will need to be living and breeding in the Columbia and Snake river systems before they can be taken off the list.
Federal courts will need to address whether a significant number of fish have to be born and raised in the wild before a species is delisted, Lohn said.
The report will not automatically delist any of the 26 listed salmon populations, Brian Gorman, the fisheries-service spokesman in Seattle, said yesterday.
"Last summer, when we decided not to appeal a district-court decision that called into question our policy of not listing hatchery fish, we said we needed to address nearly all the salmon and steelhead listings on the Pacific Coast," Gorman said.
Of the 26 listed populations, he said, 24 include some hatchery fish.
Gorman said some populations have not been reviewed in years.
Gorman said hearings would be required and populations could be removed by late next year at the earliest.
Lohn said the salmon runs this year "have been unparalleled since Bonneville Dam opened" in the late 1930s.
He said research shows high salmon runs coincide with years when there is high water runoff and moderate temperatures.
These occurrences run in 15- to 25-year cycles, and Lohn said he thinks this is the beginning of a strong cycle now.
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