WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
NEWS RELEASE
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

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March 16, 2010
Contact: Brad James, (360) 906-6716

Statement on the listing of eulachon smelt
as a 'threatened' species under the ESA

The following statement from Phil Anderson, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), concerning the listing by NOAA-Fisheries of eulachon smelt as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

"The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) supports the listing of Pacific smelt as threatened under the federal ESA. The decline of this important forage fish species over the past two decades is a serious concern and one that deserves our best effort to reverse. During this time period, WDFW has worked closely with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to reduce the harvest of smelt to low levels without a positive response from the smelt resource. The information compiled by NOAA-Fisheries during its status determination indicates that climate change, poor ocean survival conditions, lack of adequate freshwater flows and predation by seals and sea lions have combined to threaten smelt throughout their range from northern California to Alaska."

"WDFW will continue to work with NOAA-Fisheries, ODFW, and the Cowlitz Tribe to identify corrective actions that will lead to recovery this important resource."