For immediate release
For further information contact:
Spence Conley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 413/253-8325
Gordon Helm, National Marine Fisheries Service, 301/713-2370
STATUS REPORT SHOWS ATLANTIC SALMON STOCKS
ARE CONTINUING TO DECLINE AND NEED ADDITIONAL PROTECTION
A biological report released jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and the National Marine Fisheries Service confirms that wild Atlantic salmon
are in danger of extinction despite considerable efforts to ensure their
survival. The status of the salmon under the Endangered Species Act is now
pending before the federal court in Washington D.C., and the United States
will be making a court filing on the case next Friday, October 15. By that
time, the Federal agencies will make and announce decisions following on the
report being released today.
"The State of Maine has worked hard to conserve Atlantic salmon indigenous
to the Gulf of Maine through its conservation plan, and the plan will
provide a solid foundation for future recovery efforts," said Jamie
Rappaport Clark, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We will
continue working with the State of Maine and its partners to support
implementation of the existing plan. Nevertheless, this population is
facing increasing threats to its existence. These are the last remaining
naturally reproducing wild Atlantic salmon known to exist in the United
States. Our New England office will work closely with the State of Maine to
replenish Atlantic salmon for future generations."
"Atlantic salmon are an important part of the heritage of Maine and we must
do everything possible to ensure their survival and recovery," said Penny
Dalton, Director of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. "It is
critical now that we work together with the State, industry, and
conservationists to redouble our efforts to protect wild salmon."
In the biological review, Status Review for Anadromous Atlantic Salmon in
the United States, a team of federal biologists from the Services documented
changes in the status of isolated groups of wild Atlantic salmon. These
salmon are found in several rivers and tributaries in the area of Maine that
includes the Kennebec River basin and extends east to the St. Croix River
near the U.S.-New Brunswick, Canada border.
The report concludes that fewer adult salmon are returning to spawn and
young salmon in the rivers are surviving at a lower rate than expected. The
prospects for the stocks in the downeast rivers is poor unless greater
protection can be put in place. These include controls on water diversion
to ensure flow in the rivers, restrictions on recreational fishing that
catch wild salmon, and aquaculture safeguards. The Services are working
with the State to address these issues, but the process needs to be
broadened and accelerated.
In December, 1997, the two Services, which share the responsibility for
making a recommendation on whether Atlantic salmon should be federally
protected, withdrew a proposal to list the salmon in Maine as threatened
under the Endangered Species Act. The Services determined that existing
protection for the species, including the newly developed State of Maine's
Atlantic Salmon Conservation Plan, was adequate and that listing the species
under the ESA was not warranted at that time. Since then, some progress
has been made to implement the conservation plan. However, some threats
remain unresolved and need to be addressed.
For a copy of the biological status review, contact: Paul Nickerson, USFWS,
300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035 or Mary Colligan, NMFS Protected
Resources Division, One Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
The Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System
comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices and 78
ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife
laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird
populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and
restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments
with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program
that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing
and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies.
The National Marine Fisheries Service is the principal steward of the
nation's living marine resources, regulating the nation's commercial and
recreational fisheries and managing species under the Magnuson-Stevens
Fishery Conservation and Management Act throughout federal waters which
extend 200 miles from the coastline. An agency of the Commerce Department's
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA Fisheries also
protects marine and anadromous species under the Endangered Species Act and
the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at
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