A panel of the Ninth Circuit issued a noteworthy Endangered Species Act decision yesterday. The case involved the government's use of hatchery-reared salmon when assessing salmon populations for listing and other status changes under the ESA. Counting hatchery salmon can be either more or less protective of natural salmon populations, depending on how and when it is done.) Keith Rizzardi beat me to the punch with a post about it on his excellent ESA Blawg here.
Here, I'll just note that the essence of the holding is this: human-raised fish are as good under the Endangered Species Act as are "natural" fish if the "expert agency" says they are . . . because Congress has never said otherwise. Given the realities of Pacific Northwest habitat declines, my prediction on hatcheries: "here come more fish."
Posted by Jamie Colburn