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70 pts Summarize and compare the arguments regarding "farmed' and naturally bred salmon of the same species vis-a-vis the Endangered Species Act
30 pts Evaluate and explain your opinion regarding the issue of applying the Endangered Species Act to when a native species is declining in its natural environment but sucessfully bred in captivity.
The Endangered Species Act is a policy that was passed during Nixon's presidency to protect animals that are in danger of dying out. This policy was very important because with the growing economy and complete industrialization in the years before, the environment really begun to show its decay. The issue, which is still being debated today, is what defines endangered species, and what are the differences between "wild" and hatchery animals of the same species. Salmon are one of the many species in this debate. Wild salmon are becoming extinct and hatchery salmon are taking over the American rivers. Lawmakers are creating policies to protect the wild salmon from extinction against the hatchery salmon under the Endangered Species Act. This raised the question, why are the hatchery salmon and wild salmon being treated differently if they are the same species?
The major point of the legislation is to maintain species in their "Natural habitat"
Wild salmon spawn in the riverbeds of North America and voyage to the Pacific Ocean. They then return to the riverbeds of North America to die. Some salmon are making the same trip but spawning and returning to a government run fish farm instead of returning to the riverbeds. Even though to the common eye North America's rivers are full of salmon, wild salmon are fighting extinction. The majority of salmon today are hatchery salmon from fish farms. Government officials and other interest groups are pushing for policies to protect the wild salmon calling it an endangered species. Although these policies are helping the salmon population, it is also hurting fish farmers as well as other agricultural jobs that rely on this protected water for irrigation and other uses. The issue is that wild salmon listed as an endangered species are being treated differently than hatchery salmon. Both fish are apart of the same species and have no real difference, thus should not be protected by the Endangered Species Act. The courts have ruled that they are different
The best way to understand both sides of the story is using the example of the lion in the wild and the lion in the zoo. According to the supporters of the Endangered Species Act who think wild salmon should be protected believe the act "is supposed to protect creatures in their natural habitat, in the wild ... otherwise it's like we're saying that lions in zoos are exactly the same as lions in the Serengeti" . The argument of the Endangered Species Act is that the policy is supposed to protect natural habitats and animals that live within that habitat. They differentiate hatchery salmon as not being part of the "natural habitat," thus believing they are not the same as the wild salmon who are slowing going extinct. On the other hand, some argue that this analogy is incredibly absurd. Russell C. Brooks, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation, states that, "Whoever is making this statement, I'd certainly challenge them to go stick their head in the lion cage in the zoo, because that lion is just as wild as the lion in the jungle. It's the same species"