NOAA 2006-R100
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Brian Gorman
1/17/06
NOAA News Releases 2006
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OREGON COAST COHO AVOIDS ESA LISTING
Deemed Not Likely to Become Endangered

Following a two-year collaborative process with the state of Oregon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries Service today announced that Oregon Coast coho are not likely to become endangered and will not be listed under the Endangered Species Act.

An in-depth assessment by Oregon concluded that state actions to reform harvest and hatcheries had helped turn the coho population around, and that the population’s ability to rebound from very low levels demonstrated that it is likely to persist into the future. NOAA Fisheries Service agreed with the Oregon analysis, although noted there are many uncertainties about what the future holds for the coho. Oregon and NOAA Fisheries Service will continue to monitor coho for population changes.

“This administration remains solidly committed to recovering Pacific salmon, and I am pleased to join the State of Oregon and local stakeholders in celebrating this important milestone,” said Bob Lohn, NOAA Fisheries Northwest regional administrator. “I applaud the hard work of local agriculture, forestry, state, tribal and other federal partners to develop a solid plan for recovery. This is an encouraging example of the diverse interests that can come together to improve conditions for salmon in the Pacific Northwest.”

Under the ESA, an endangered species is one that is in danger of extinction and a threatened species is one that is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. NOAA Fisheries Service biologists said that ocean conditions are likely to continue to play a dominant role in the population’s health, and that the population is expected to undergo natural fluctuations in the future as a result.

Today’s announcement follows a significant investment in studying and restoring coho. Between 2000 and 2004, NOAA provided more than $10 million through the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and nearly $600,000 to the Oregon coastal Coquille and Siletz tribes for over 150 habitat protection, enhancement, research and monitoring projects to improve conditions for coho and other listed species along the Oregon coast. The NOAA Restoration Center also provided $950,000 for local restoration projects, including the Lower Columbia and Tillamook Estuary Partnerships, that benefit a variety of aquatic species including coho. Additionally, Oregon received $250,000 in federal funds to support scientific work on Oregon Coast coho.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitats through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.

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Helpful documents on today’s announcement are available at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov