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Government shutdown threaten’s Idaho’s hatchery-based steelhead season

The Idaho Conservation League is calling attention to the federal government shutdown threatening Idaho’s ability to keep hatchery-based steelhead season open. (Martin IKoenig / Idaho Fish and Game)
The Idaho Conservation League is calling attention to the federal government shutdown threatening Idaho’s ability to keep hatchery-based steelhead season open. (Martin IKoenig / Idaho Fish and Game)
Idaho Press

BOISE – In a frantic letter to Gov. Brad Little, the Idaho Conservation League calls attention to the federal government shutdown threatening Idaho’s ability to keep hatchery-based steelhead season open.

On Friday afternoon, Justin Hayes, program director for the Idaho Conservation League, walked a letter to the governor’s office asking for his immediate attention to how the government shutdown is affecting Idaho’s steelhead season.

According to the letter, the Sustainable Fisheries Division of the National Marine Fisheries Service – tasked with processing Idaho’s permit to allow for hatchery-based catching – is not currently operating under the shutdown. Idaho’s permit for hatchery-based catching is required to be secured no later than March 15, and as of now Idaho’s permit is “sitting on a desk of an empty office.”

“While the Trump administration may view the fishery biologists working to protect Idaho’s steelhead – and our steelhead fishing season – as non-essential employees, we sure don’t,” wrote Hayes in the letter. “Ensuring that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is able to administer a steelhead fishing season that allows hatchery-based steelhead to be harvested while not harming our wild runs is absolutely essential to many Idaho communities and families.”

The conservation league is calling on Gov. Little to act and ask President Trump to consider the steelhead situation and how it is affecting local businesses who depend on the fish for their livelihoods.

“We are writing to you in the hopes that you agree with us: Idaho families that depend on healthy runs of salmon and steelhead are essential,” wrote Hayes. “These people matter, their jobs matter and these fish matter.”

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