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New Protections for Salmon

Press Democrat 11/08

Farms and orchards that continue to use three pesticides that harm salmon will have to greatly expand buffer zones around their fields so the chemicals don’t reach streams, federal biologists ruled Tuesday.

Acting under terms of a lawsuit brought by anti-pesticide groups and salmon fishermen, NOAA Fisheries Service issued findings under the Endangered Species Act that chemicals malathion, diazinon and chlorpyrifos jeopardize the survival of all 28 species of Pacific salmon listed as threatened or endangered in the West.

The chemicals, found by the U.S. Geological Survey to contaminate rivers throughout the West, interfere with salmon’s sense of smell, making it harder to avoid predators, locate food and even find their native spawning streams and reproduce. At higher concentrations, they kill fish outright.