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ENVIRO-NEWS  June 2009

ENVIRO-NEWS June 2009

Subject:

NOAA and USFWS Protect More Gulf of Maine Atlantic Salmon to Recover Imperiled Stocks

From:

"Makuch, Joseph" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Makuch, Joseph

Date:

Mon, 15 Jun 2009 14:17:18 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (184 lines)

-----Original Message-----
From: [log in to unmask]
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of News releases and
other information from the Fish and WildlifeService.
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 2:02 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [fws-news] NOAA and USFWS Protect More Gulf of Maine Atlantic
Salmon to Recover Imperiled Stocks



Contact:    Teri Frady, NOAA                    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
            508-495-2239                        June 15, 2009
            Diana Weaver, Fish & Wildlife Service
            413-253-8329

        Federal Agencies Protect More Gulf of Maine Atlantic Salmon
                        to Recover Imperiled Stocks

      NOAA's Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
today
extended Endangered Species Act protection to more Atlantic salmon by
adding fish in the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Androscoggin rivers and
their
tributaries to the endangered Gulf of Maine population first listed in
2000.

      The decision is part of the ongoing effort to recover the
imperiled
fish, which once returned by the hundreds of thousands to most major
rivers
along the Northeastern U.S. and now returns in small numbers only to
rivers
in Maine.

      "Legend has it you could once walk across these rivers on the
backs
of salmon," said FWS Acting Director Rowan Gould. "Unfortunately, in
most
years we are able to count barely 1,000 fish returning to the Penobscot
and
fewer than a hundred in the other two rivers. If we are ever going to
recover this iconic species so that future generations can witness the
teeming runs that awed past generations, we need to protect it now
throughout the Gulf of Maine."

      Endangered status under the ESA will now apply to all anadromous
(sea-run) Atlantic salmon whose freshwater range covers the watersheds
from
the Androscoggin River northward along the Maine coast to the Dennys
River,
an area which includes the Penobscot and Kennebec rivers. It also
applies
wherever these fish occur in these rivers' estuaries and marine
environment. Hatchery fish used to supplement these natural populations
are
also included under this rule.

      Landlocked salmon and salmon raised in hatcheries for aquaculture
are
not included in the listed population.

      Listed species receive the full protection of the Endangered
Species
Act, including a prohibition against take. Take is defined to include
harass, harm, pursue, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect.

      The listing means that before federal support or authorization is
provided for any activity that may affect the fish, it would need to be
reviewed by federal authorities to ensure that it doesn't jeopardize the
continued existence of the species or adversely modify its critical
habitat.   For instance, operators of hydro-electric dam facilities on
the
rivers or tributaries will need to consult with the agencies to ensure
they
are not in violation of the law. Others who would need to consult are
those
seeking federal permits for discharges into these waterways and those
seeking permits for dredging or in-water work related to bridge
construction.

      "We will work closely with the state and industries to see that
economic activities on rivers are affected as little as possible while
we
help ensure the salmon have the quality and quantity of habitat that
allows
them to recover and become a healthy and viable population," said Jane
Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere
and
NOAA administrator.

      In 2000, NOAA and FWS listed as endangered all naturally
reproducing
wild Atlantic salmon as well as river-specific hatchery populations
returning to small coastal Maine rivers and their tributaries. As a
group,
these were called the Gulf of Maine population. A biological review team
composed of federal and state agency biologists and a biologist from the
Penobscot Indian Nation has since showed that salmon in the
Androscoggin,
Penobscot, and Kennebec rivers are also part of the same Gulf of Maine
population. Today's action adds them to the population originally listed
in
2000.

      The state of Maine unsuccessfully challenged the 2000 listing
claiming that there was no "species" eligible for protection under the
Endangered Species Act due to the long history of stocking in Maine
waters.
The district court held that the services were correct in their
determination.

      In addition, the National Research Council was charged with
examining
available scientific information on the status of Atlantic salmon
populations in Maine. Factors evaluated included the nature and
discreteness of salmon populations in Maine rivers. The council
published
an interim report in 2002 on the genetic status of Atlantic Salmon in
Maine, concluding that North American Atlantic salmon are clearly
distinct
genetically from European salmon. They also stated that despite the
extensive additions of nonnative hatchery and aquaculture genotypes to
Maine's rivers, the evidence is "surprisingly strong" that the wild
salmon
in Maine are genetically distinct from Canadian salmon. This supported
the
scientific foundation of the services' 2000 listing.

      The fish's critical habitat-the area needed to support the fish
population's survival and recovery--is contained in about 12,000 miles
of
river, stream and estuary habitat and about 300 square miles of lake
habitat in Maine. This is the first time critical habitat has been
determined for endangered Atlantic salmon.

      In 2008, approximately 2,300 adult fish from the newly listed
endangered population returned to spawn. This is an increase over recent
years, but less than 10 percent of the number required before spawning
stocks are thought to be in good condition.

      NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment,
from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves
and
manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov
                                  - 30 -


Nan Rollison
USFWS - Division of Partnerships and Program Support
Branch of Multimedia Technology
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS-3109
Arlington, VA 22203
703 358-2143
703 358-2246 fax


************************************************************************
***
News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at 
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Questions concerning a particular news release or item of
information should be directed to the person listed as the
contact. General comments or observations concerning the
content of the information should be directed to Malcomb Barsella
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***********************************************
Enviro-News is a service of the Water Quality
Information Center at the National Agricultural
Library.  The center's Web site is at
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The Enviro-News list facilitates information exchange.
Inclusion of an item in Enviro-News does not imply
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