Conservation News 9.29.10

Written by: Phil Monahan

The Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office has been awarded $27.5 million to be used for salmon-recovery efforts. The grant, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, will be used for everything from habitat restoration to fish-hatchery improvements to increased monitoring. Another $10.8 million was awarded to the Washington DFW to be used in Columbia Basin hatcheries.


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Ever since oil began spilling into the Gulf of Mexico last spring, biologists have worried that the heaviest toll would be on juvenile fish, which would mean that the spill’s true effects would not be known for a few years. Recent evidence, based on fish counts in the region, suggest that these young fish may have “dodged a bullet” according to Joel Fodrie, a researcher with the University of North Carolina’s Institute of Marine Science who has been studying seagrass meadows along the coast for five years.

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A group of 11 U.S. senators, led by Alaska’s Mark Begich are trying to stop the Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically modified Atlantic salmon for human consumption. The AquaAdvantage salmon grows twice as fast as wild salmon because it has been given a growth hormone from Chinook salmon and a gene from an eel-like ocean pout. According to Begich, the health and environmental questions about such a fish cannot be adequately evaluated by the public, and the group of senators argues that the FDA is using the wrong approval process.


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