Douglas and Timothy Watts, Friends of
Douglas Watts 207-626-8178 email@example.com
Timothy Watts 508-946-6191 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ed Friedman, FOMB 207-666-3372 email@example.com
Kathleen McGee, MTAC 207-666-3598 firstname.lastname@example.org
Endangered Species Protection Sought for
Last week a petition seeking endangered species status for Kennebec River Atlantic salmon was quietly filed with the Departments of Interior and Commerce. Petitioners Douglas Watts, Timothy Watts, The Maine Toxics Action Coalition and Friends of Merrymeeting Bay cited the critically low fish population, the continued impediments to recovery and the lack of strong protections as reasons behind their request for the federal listing.
Douglas Watts, author of the petition described the decision by US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) not to list the species as “arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).”
Watts continued: “The USFWS have taken tissue samples
(pieces of fin) from more than 180 wild Kennebec River Atlantic salmon to prove
“Since 1994, the USFWS has provided no explanation for its continued refusal to protect wild Kennebec River Atlantic salmon under the ESA except to say the population remains under study,” he added.
On November 17, 2000 the USFWS and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) [predecessor to NOAA Fisheries] declared a Gulf of Maine DPS of anadromous Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) pursuant to the United States Endangered Species Act (65 Fed. Reg.69459).
USFWS and NMFS defined the
USFWS and NMFS further declared
Kathleen McGee, Director of the
Eleven years have passed since 1994 when the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service began taking tissue samples from wild Kennebec River Atlantic salmon to determine if they qualify for protection under the United States Endangered Species Act.
According to Timothy Watts, “during these 11 years the USFWS
has taken no action to protect the wild Atlantic salmon of the
Concern over anadromous fish restoration on the
Penalties were described for those who would interfere with the fishery:
“Be it further enacted, That every person who shall drift or drag any net or seine in the waters of Kennebec River, at Merry-meeting bay, or in the Amareskoggin River, emptying into the same, so as to scrape the bottom, disturb or destroy any of the spawn or young of the salmon, shad or alewives, at any season of the year, he or they, so offending, shall forfeit and pay a fine of ten dollars for each and every offence, and shall moreover forfeit the net or seine and boat so used, to be disposed of according to the law passed on the twenty-second day of February, seventeen hundred ninety-four.”
Ed Friedman, Chair of Friends of Merrymeeting Bay described the U.S. Endangered Species Act as “requiring the USFWS to make its listing determination on the best scientific and commercial information available at the time of the listing decision” The USFWS has yet to provide any factual basis for its decision to exclude the Kennebec River Atlantic salmon population from ESA protection.” “Federal law does not allow the USFWS to put a population of an endangered species in a perpetual state of being "under study" and thus deprived of protection under the ESA”, he added.
The Petitioners request the Departments of Interior and
Commerce make an immediate decision to protect or not protect the Atlantic
salmon of the
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