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DSF and coalition seek investigation for further protection of Atlantic salmon

By John Holyoke - BDN staff. After being rebuffed by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Marine Resources, a group of conservation groups and individuals is remaining steadfast in its effort to have the state conduct an investigation into whether Atlantic salmon deserve inclusion on the Maine list of endangered species.

In June, that group of 10 groups and six individuals wrote to the DIF&W seeking an investigation. However, a month later in July, DIF&W commissioner Judy Camuso and marine resources commissioner Patrick Keliher replied saying they didn’t think state listing was needed, citing ongoing federal Endangered Species Act protection for the species, and cooperation between state, federal and non-governmental organizations on salmon conservation efforts.

Atlantic salmon in most Maine rivers have been protected under the federal Endangered Species Act since 2000. Federal protection was expanded to all Maine Rivers in 2009, with the addition of the Penobscot, Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers. Among the results of the federal listing: Fishing for Atlantic salmon is not allowed on any Maine river.

“A recommendation for state listing of Atlantic salmon by [Department of Marine Resources] does not offer any conservation benefits beyond the existing protections already afforded by federal [Endangered Species Act] and existing state regulations. The listing does however cause a workload issue that does not justify the ends, absent any specific conservation or fiscal benefits, [Department of Marine Resources] has and continues to decline to list Atlantic salmon,” the commissioners wrote in the letter.

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