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FEDS TO ANNOUNCE DE-LISTING DECISIONS FOR EIGHT FISH ESUíS SOON
NOAA Fisheries spokesman Brian Gorman said last week that his agency will comply with a federal judge's April 29 order (BIAW v. NOAA) that gave the agency 30 days to announce decisions on whether eight different salmon and steelhead stocks qualify for de-listing under the ESA.
"The lion's share of the work has been done and I'm certain we will meet this deadline," Gorman told NW Fishletter May 5.
But Gorman said that didn't mean the agency's long-awaited hatchery policy will be formally announced about the same time, even though he admitted NOAA Fisheries policymakers will be implementing the new policy "in a general way" to help make the decisions on petitions filed by several groups of developers, irrigators and property owners.
When the feds missed an earlier deadline, the groups agreed to a Mar. 31 date for the petitions to be decided, but NOAA missed that one, too, and asked Eastern Washington District Court Judge Robert Whaley for another 90 days, citing delays due to difficulties completing a new hatchery policy. The policy is being developed to satisfy another federal judge's 2001 ruling that said the agency acted illegally when it didn't offer the same ESA protection for the hatchery component of the Oregon coastal coho ESU [Evolutionarily Significant Unit] as it did for the wild part of that run. -B. R.
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