Thorny skate not to be on en­dan­gered list

The Washington Post Sunday - - POLITICS & THE NATION -

The thorny skate’s pop­u­la­tion may have declined, but not by enough to jus­tify list­ing it un­der the En­dan­gered Species Act, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has ruled.

En­vi­ron­men­tal groups had ar­gued that the bot­tom-dwelling fish’s pop­u­la­tion loss in the north­west At­lantic Ocean was con­sid­er­able enough to af­ford it pro­tec­tions set aside for en­dan­gered an­i­mals. But the Na­tional Ma­rine Fish­eries Ser­vice dis­agrees.

Doc­u­ments pub­lished in the Fed­eral Regis­ter state that the fish­eries ser­vice has con­cluded the thorny skate is “not cur­rently in dan­ger of ex­tinc­tion” in all or a sig­nif­i­cant piece of its range. The ser­vice said the fish is also not likely to be­come in dan­ger of ex­tinc­tion soon.

The agency agreed with the pe­ti­tion­ers that sur­veys of the skate have declined over time. Re­cent catch sur­veys show less than 5 per­cent of the peak they reached in the 1970s, the re­port stated. How­ever, the skates “re­main numer­ous through­out the greater por­tion of their range, num­ber­ing in the hun­dreds of mil­lions,” the re­port stated.

The thorny skate ranges from Green­land to South Carolina. An­i­mal Wel­fare In­sti­tute and De­fend­ers of Wildlife called on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to of­fer the fish En­dan­gered Species Act list­ing, which could have led to habi­tat pro­tec­tion or new fish­ing re­stric­tions. 28 in­jured af­ter ve­hi­cle plows into crowd in New Or­leans: A man is in cus­tody af­ter 28 peo­ple were in­jured Saturday when a ve­hi­cle plowed into a crowd watch­ing the Krewe of Endymion pa­rade in the MidCity sec­tion of New Or­leans, po­lice said. Po­lice Chief Michael Har­ri­son said the man was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for driv­ing while in­tox­i­cated. Har­ri­son was asked twice by reporters if ter­ror­ism was sus­pected. While he didn’t say “No,” he did say it looks like a case of DWI. Twenty-one peo­ple were hos­pi­tal­ized af­ter the crash.

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