Help Stop an Attack on Endangered Species

The Bush administration has just released two very harmful draft policies that will undermine decades of protections for wild salmon and steelhead and their vital habitat. We need your help and your voice today to protect our endangered wild salmon from further decline and possible extinction!

These draft policies will undercut important efforts meant to protect salmon habitat. The first policy counts hatchery salmon as wild salmon under the Endangered Species Act. The second policy, which could effectively strip federal protections from wild salmon and steelhead, applies this misguided hatchery policy to 27 protected salmon and steelhead stocks and proposes to reclassify resident rainbow trout and count them as ocean-going steelhead.

Pacific wild salmon are an important keystone species, providing food for hundreds of species of animals and plants and serving as an economic engine for rural fishing communities. Now is our only chance to change this harmful policy before it is adopted, and protect our wild salmon.

Please tell the Bush administration that hatchery fish should not be counted as wild fish and that the Endangered Species Act is intended to protect wild salmon and steelhead and their natural habitat.

Public comments are due by October 15, 2004 – sign this petition today!
Mr. Garth Griffin,
Supervisory Fishery Biologist/Branch Chief
Protected Resources Division, NOAA Fisheries
525 NE Oregon St. Suite 500
Portland, OR 97323

Re: 040525161-4161-01

Dear Mr. Griffin,

I am writing to oppose the proposed hatchery policy and its application to 27 salmon and steelhead species in the West. This proposal will have devastating, lasting impacts on the future of wild salmon and steelhead and their habitat. Wild fish are the key to the recovery of salmon and the communities and economies that depend on them.

[Your personal comments]

The sole purpose of the Endangered Species Act is to provide a means by which threatened and endangered species and their ecosystems may be conserved. It is not intended to provide a means to conserve human propagated fish. Counting hatchery fish as wild salmon and steelhead does not conserve those truly threatened and endangered species. Instead, it creates an incentive to continue harming these fragile ecosystems. Without good habitat, these species will face continued decline and possible extinction. This policy will accelerate that demise.

The hatchery policy ignores important differences between hatchery and wild fish. Scientists have identified critical differences between hatchery and wild fish that affect long-term sustainability. Your own scientists recommended against this hatchery policy because it could increase the risk of extinction for these species.

Even though all 27 salmon and steelhead stocks are proposed for protection, it is very clear that they will not remain protected for long. This policy will mask the ongoing declines of the wild fish by providing a false sense of security and recovery.

Salmon and steelhead and their habitat are in dire straits from California to Washington and inland to Idaho. They cannot afford any more mismanagement. I urge you to withdraw your hatchery policy and propose that only wild salmon and steelhead and their habitat be afforded necessary protection.


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