On the Court Ruling Upholding Listing for Coho Salmon

We have been working on this project, CESA listing of Coho, Since the Petition filing in 2000 and in discussion – before that in strategy discussion – since the early 90’s when we did the Petition to List Coho on the Federal ESA.

The DFG Commission accepted the Petition and recommended such Listing under CESA a few years ago. DFG produced the Recovery Strategy for California Coho Salmon in 2004. Industry has litigated this CESA listing and has finally lost – in appeals Court.

This is a victory for Coho and the end of one aspect of a long strategy battle. It does not mean that the Coho Recovery Strategy will actually go into effect.

The Court only said:

The listing under CESA is good and valid – implying the rest of CESA should apply as per the Recovery Strategy – this may lead to more inaction by DFG and more fighting.

That ESU’s are a valid way of looking at fish stocks.

That it is valid to distinguish between wild and hatchery fish.

And, issue of range and jurisdiction were appropriately determined by DFG.

The Court did not say that Fish and Game had to go out and take action to protect the fish. This is not the magic bullet – but – it is a step for more protection. DFG can say we have to


After I sent this out, I began to wonder what might be effected.

One implication could be that the releases from the Marine Lab and the Lake Sonoma hatchery (Don Clausen) would be included, and if those fish are not protected – the waters might also have a different level of protection and it is not inconceivable that funding for the breeding and research could be compromised. As an example of the changes in status and therefore protection – would this mean more human activity could be allowed in the Dry Creek watersheds?

Perhaps someone knows more and could be less speculative. I’m guessing.

Have a great week,

Interesting news of a victory for protecting coho. Bravo that the court recognized the value of the ESU concept!

The following quote about wild fish vs. hatchery fish is interesting though relative to the Russian River Coho Broodstock program…
“The court next upheld the decision by the Commission and the Department to distinguish between hatchery raised and naturally spawning fish. The court emphasized that the CESA’s definition of “fish” refers specifically to “wild fish.””
Does this mean for example that Russian River watershed’s such as Dutch Bill/Green Valley/Mill Creek, etc., that have one or more year classes of ‘more’ protected wild fish and some number of hatchery year classes of ‘less’ protected broodstock program fish that have been re-introduced by DF&G? How would these protections play out differently and functionally on the land and in the creek between year classes, if at all? For those watersheds that will have all three year classes introduced, to what extent would they have different state protections than those that still have a remnant wild run? I am less concerned about the fish lacking protected status with the federal listing as well. I guess a I am simply fishing for thoughts on the implications of distinguishing wild fish vs. hatchery fish and how it will play out pragmatically from a state protection perspective in these watersheds?