Groups Urge State to Protect Last Wild Atlantic Salmon in US

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Maine is location to the past chaotic Atlantic salmon populations successful the U.S., but a caller propulsion to support the food astatine the authorities level is improbable to onshore them connected the endangered list.

Atlantic salmon erstwhile teemed successful U.S. rivers, but present instrumentality from the oversea to lone a fistful of rivers successful eastbound and cardinal Maine. The food are protected astatine the national level nether the U.S. Endangered Species Act, but a conjugation of biology groups and scientists said the food could beryllium afforded much protections if they were added to Maine's ain database of endangered and threatened species.

State instrumentality allows Maine Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher to marque that recommendation, but his bureau told The Associated Press helium does not mean to bash it. The section has done extended enactment to conserve and reconstruct the fish, and the commissioner “does not judge a listing astatine the authorities level would spend further conservation benefits oregon protections," said Jeff Nichols, a section spokesperson.

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The environmentalists who privation to spot the food connected the authorities database said they're going to support pushing for it and different protections. Adding the food to the authorities endangered database would mean conservation of salmon would beryllium treated arsenic a bigger interest successful authorities permitting processes, said John Burrows, enforcement manager for U.S. operations for the Atlantic Salmon Federation.

“The authorities of Maine and a fistful of our rivers are the lone places successful the state that inactive person chaotic Atlantic salmon,” Burrows said. “It's thing that should happen, and should person happened.”

Atlantic salmon person disappeared from U.S. rivers due to the fact that of damming, contamination and others biology challenges, and they besides look the looming menace of clime change. Nevertheless, determination person been immoderate affirmative signs successful Maine rivers successful caller years.

More than 1,400 salmon returned to the Penobscot River successful 2020. That was the highest fig since 2011, the Maine marine resources section found. The Penobscot is the astir productive stream for the salmon. It averaged lone astir 700 food per twelvemonth from 2012 to 2019.

Attempts to repopulate Atlantic salmon successful different states person stalled. The national authorities ended an effort to reconstruct Atlantic salmon successful the Connecticut River basin successful 2012 aft respective decades due to the fact that of deficiency of success.

Getting the food listed connected the Maine endangered database has agelong been a extremity of galore biology groups. The Maine Endangered Species Act includes 26 endangered taxon and 25 threatened ones. The database includes 2 fish: the endangered redfin pickerel and the threatened swamp darter.

The database is designed to supply state-level extortion to jeopardized taxon and is simply a complement to the U.S. Endangered Species Act. A fewer species, including the piping plover, are listed connected both.

Environmentalists supported a measure successful the Maine Legislature earlier this twelvemonth that would person required the marine resources commissioner to urge a authorities listing for immoderate taxon that is federally listed arsenic endangered oregon threatened. The connection died successful committee successful June.

A radical of 19 organizations and 10 scientists and conservationists sent a missive to the authorities that said Maine is 1 of the fewer states that doesn't mandate oregon urge state-level listing of federally listed species. Dwayne Shaw, manager of the Downeast Salmon Federation, said wildlife advocates volition proceed pushing for salmon protections.

“There would beryllium large symbolism successful this, but determination would besides beryllium nonstop implications, affirmative implications for the species,” Shaw said.

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