Friday July 1, 2022

Center for Biological Diversity

The National Marine Fisheries Service released a final biological opinion today establishing critical protections for salmon and Puget Sound orcas from exposure to three widely used insecticides — chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion.

Today’s analysis finalizes a March draft biological opinion that concluded the three insecticides put 37 protected species in jeopardy of extinction and harm their designated critical habitat.

“This is how pesticide consultations are supposed to work. The Fisheries Service followed the science and the law, and now salmon and orcas will receive long-overdue protections,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The agency should be commended for upholding scientific integrity despite industry pressure to water down restrictions on these pesticides.”

The draft opinion recommended a set of mandatory, on-the-ground conservation measures to protect salmon, sturgeon and steelhead from these pesticides, including spray buffers of up to almost 1,000 feet. Because the Environmental Protection Agency and pesticide manufactures have now agreed to implement the conservation measures required by the Fisheries Service, the agency was able to reach a final “no jeopardy” determination on the pesticides.

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