FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jim Milbury
News Releases 2003
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NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) has determined that the North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris), is not in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future and therefore does not qualify as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the Commerce Department.
The green sturgeon is a large anadromous bottom dwelling fish that ranges from Alaska to Mexico in marine waters and forages in estuaries and bays from San Francisco Bay to British Columbia.
"We identified the existence of two distinct population segments of green sturgeon and based on a review of the best available data, neither appear to be declining in population numbers or are in danger of extinction," Bill Hogarth, NOAA Fisheries assistant administrator. “However, we will continue to monitor the well-being of the green sturgeon by keeping it on our candidate species list and reviewing its status again in five years, if information warrants.”
In June 2001, the Environmental Protection Information Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Waterkeepers Northern California petitioned NOAA Fisheries to list the green sturgeon as endangered or threatened throughout its range, and to designate critical habitat under the ESA. The ESA defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” A threatened species is defined as “any species which is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”
In December 2001, NOAA Fisheries found that the petition to list the green sturgeon contained substantial information that warranted further examination and initiated a comprehensive review on the status of the species. NOAA Fisheries solicited information and comments pertaining to this species from the public and established a Biological Review Team (BRT) to examine the available data.
The BRT was composed of scientists from the agency’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The BRT examined all the available scientific information provided by the public and other interested parties including input and comments by state and tribal co-managers in California, Oregon, and Washington. The BRT made several findings and recommendations that include:
Green sturgeon is a long-lived, slow-growing fish and is the most marine oriented of the sturgeon species. There is evidence that green sturgeon spawn in the Klamath-Trinity, Sacramento and Rogue Rivers, with most of the spawning thought to occur in the Klamath-Trinity River. The green sturgeon is usually caught as “by-catch” during commercial, recreational, or tribal fishery activities.
NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.
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