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Nez Perce Indian Tribe of Idaho

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A Sept. 12 decision by U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan in Oregon could have indirect repercussions on endangered species listing of salmon and steelhead in the Northwest. He ruled the National Marine Fisheries Service erred when it protected wild coastal coho but not hatchery coho, though they belong to the same subspecies. There's no direct effect on Idaho's Snake River chinook and steelhead. But it worries people like Bill Sedivy, executive director of Idaho Rivers United in Boise. 'I got to tell you it makes me really nervous. Hatchery fish are not the same as wild fish that were bred and reared and grew up in the wild and are much better suited to survive in that environment than hatchery fish are.'' But, 'It gives us more creativity,'' said Jamie Pinkham, director of the tribal fishery program. The tribe believes hatchery fish can be used to rescue failing wild stocks. It doesn't want to rely on hatcheries to produce each generation of fish, but would use them to increase the number of fish that spawn in the wild. 'We still want to see rebuilding of wild populations,'' he said. 'What we are saying is, don't dismiss the hatchery as a contributor to help rebuild the wild populations.''.