Monday, June 18, 2007

Wild Spawned v. Hatchery Raised

Did anyone catch the latest news about salmon? By way of Kansas, I learned of an interesting ruling regarding salmon fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service, an executive branch administered department, had been counting hatchery-raised salmon the same as wild-spawned salmon in its environmental impact calculations. The hatchery-raised fish generally boost census counts, changing the status of species like steelhead trout from 'endangered' to the less restricted 'threatened.' Clearly, it was the developers that argued for including hatchery raised fish in the counts.

A Seattle P-I article details this story quite well, and Blogfish has another analysis.

Wouldn't it be nice if environmental agencies could listen to science BEFORE a judge has to take account of the situation? On the one hand, we probably only hear about the most egregious cases, but on the other hand, you have to wonder how else is science being ignored by the current administration...

Just as clarification, this ruling does not apply to "farm-raised salmon." Blogfish nicely points out that:
Scientists are careful not to call salmon wild if they're raised by people for part of their life cycle. For a scientist, there are three main types of salmon, wild, farmed, and hatchery. But fishermen and the seafood industry call salmon wild if they're caught in the ocean, no matter how long they actually lived free.
So if you eat fish, keep buying those wild salmon.

I spotted the salmon pictured above at this weekend's Solstice Parade.

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