Groups sue for denial of endangered species protections for West Coast fishermen

CENTRALIA — The Center for Biological Diversity and two other environmental groups filed a lawsuit Sept. 13 against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) after denying endangered species status to fishers in the West Coast.

The other two agencies involved in filing the lawsuit were the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of California.

Anglers are medium-sized forest carnivores whose range spanned most of the west coast. Logging and fur trapping led to a drastic decrease in the number of anglers in the 1950s and now faces threats from rodenticides used by cannabis growers and climate change issues including increasing forest fires. forest, according to environmental groups.

The remaining fisherman population is now restricted to northern California and southern Oregon, while other populations have been translocated to the southern Oregon Cascades and Washington.

“I am deeply concerned for the survival of the mysterious fisherman and the ancient forests he inhabits,” Noah Greenwald, director of endangered species at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a press release. “These tenacious animals can eat porcupines, but they can’t survive the damage we are causing to their forests. Fishermen needed the protection of the Endangered Species Act 20 years ago, and they need it even more today.

The lawsuit is just the latest in a litany of legal actions dating back to 2000, when the Center for Biological Diversity filed its first petition with the FWS to have West Coast fishermen listed as endangered in various Pacific Northwest habitats.

The trigger for this lawsuit was a 2020 decision by the FWS that removed protection for fishermen on the entire west coast, except for the southern Sierra Nevada region.

“Fishermen have it tough. From rodenticide poisoning to habitat loss from logging and fires, these tenacious creatures face significant threats to their continued existence,” said George Sexton, Conservation Director of the Klamath- Siskiyou Wildlands Center, in a press release.

The full lawsuit can be viewed online at https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/mammals/fisher/pdfs/West-Coast-Fisher-Complaint-2022-09-13.pdf.

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