By Ron Joseph
Despite dire predictions, listing salmon as endangered hasn't hurt the blueberry or forest-products industries.
In early 2000, when the remaining U.S. populations of Atlantic salmon were proposed for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, then-Gov. Angus King, then-Sen. Olympia Snowe, Sen. Susan Collins and industry lobbyists engaged in a coordinated fear-mongering parade in front of cameras and microphones.
At three emotionally charged public hearings, politicians warned that listing the salmon as endangered would ruin Maine's aquaculture, blueberry and forest-products industries.
Thirteen years later, it's clear that those politicians behaved like Chicken Little. Salmon were added to the Endangered Species Act on Nov. 13, 2000. None of the doomsday predictions have materialized.
Maine's blueberry industry is thriving, salmon have not crippled the state's forestry industry and salmon aquaculture limps along, although its struggles can hardly be blamed on wild salmon. Conversely, diseases resulting from the unnatural concentration of millions of farmed salmon are a serious threat to wild salmon.
King, now a U.S. senator, made clear his opposition to the salmon listing: "There is no question that the species Atlantic salmon is neither endangered or threatened." More....