Salmon poison

  Ten years after Pacific salmon were first given federal protection under the Endangered Species Act, the fish are still swimming in pesticide-laced water, and the Environmental Protection Agency is ignoring the problem, says a report recently issued by the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and the Washington Toxics Coalition.

Besides directly killing the fish, pesticides can impair swimming ability, disrupt reproduction, and eradicate food sources such as insect larvae, says the report. The two coalitions, along with the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations and the Institute for Fisheries Resources, are suing the agency for disregarding its legal responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service about pesticides that could harm salmon.

Erika Schreder, staff scientist for the Washington Toxics Coalition, says they want to force the EPA to undergo a complete consultation process and, most importantly, follow up with action.

The report recommends that the EPA phase out harmful pesticides, establish pesticide water-quality criteria to protect both fish and people, and use their pesticide registration process to make sure that those levels are not exceeded.

For a copy of Poisoned Waters: Pesticide Contamination of Waters and Solutions to Protect Pacific Salmon, visit or call 206/632-1545, ext. 12, for a $6 print version.

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