Brouhaha over the coho

Published: Thursday 31 August 1995

THE ongoing controversy in the us involving the Endangered Species Act (Down To Earth, Vol 4, No 5) has taken yet another turn. This time, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has lit the fuse by proposing that the coho salmon should be listed as "threatened" under the Act.

The geographical range of the coho,s natural habitat is more extencive Aan that of other protected 4peciefand covers a large chunk of the Pacific northwest coast. Approval of the proposal will mean enforcing limits on all development work, including setting up hydroelectric dams and logging, along the 700-mile coastline and up hundreds of tributaries, many of which extend for more than 100 miles inland. "The geographical sc;pe of this listing is enormous," raves William Stelle, northwest regional director, NMFS.

And this is precisely the factor that has enraged the timber lobby. "We would rather see a cooperative approach to restoration and enhancement than simply stating that the coho is a threatened species," complains Chris West, a spokesperson for the timber industry's Northwest Forestry Association. The group is now lobbying to amend the Act to make it more responsive to all the concerned parties.

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