Policy Statements » Letters from the President:

June 30, 2004

Protected Resources Division
National Marine Fisheries Service
525 NE Oregon Street, Suite 500
Portland, OR 97232

Dear Chief:

The Ecological Society of American (ESA) thanks you for acknowledging the critical importance of salmon genetic diversity in the “Proposed Policy on the Consideration of Hatchery-Origin Fish in Endangered Species Act Listing Determinations for Pacific Salmon and Steelhead.” The ESA is the nation’s premier society of professional ecologists with over 8,000 members in academia, private industry and government agencies.

As the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) points out in the Proposed Policy, genetic diversity and local adaptation are very significant for the long term viability of any salmonid population. We support the effort of the Proposed Policy to recognize the importance of genetic diversity by limiting consideration of hatchery fish to those closely and genetically related to the wild stock.

Furthermore, we support NMFS’s effort to consider more than the abundance of an Evolutionarily Significant Unit, including also productivity, genetic diversity and spatial distribution as part of an evaluation of a viable population.

The ESA would have preferred that the Alsea decision had been appealed to ensure that hatchery fish that may impair the survival of natural populations are not counted as part of the natural population under the Endangered Species Act. However, given the Alsea ruling, we believe that NMFS has devised a policy that will best protect salmonid species.


William H. Schlesinger