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Puget Sound steelhead listed as 'threatened'
Tacoma News Tribune


May 12, 2007

TACOMA, Wash. -- Federal officials Monday morning listed more than 50 stocks of summer- and winter-run Puget Sound steelhead as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The action by the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle was announced at 6 a.m. It follows a proposed listing announced about a year ago.

Puget Sound chinook salmon have been listed as threatened since 1999.

In September, 2004, Sam Wright, an Olympia fish biologist, petitioned the agency to protect native steelhead runs in the Sound. At the time, sport fishermen already were barred from keeping wild steelhead, and populations in most river systems were declining.

The listing includes naturally spawned steelhead from rivers emptying into the Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the eastern half of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Also included are two winter-run hatchery stocks from the Green and Hamma Hamma rivers, officials said. The Sound's largest steelhead runs are in the Skagit and Snohomish rivers.

The listing becomes effective in about a month. It obligates the Fisheries Service to issue protective regulations, identify habitat critical to steelhead survival and prepare a recovery plan.

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