The National Marine Fisheries Service announced that a population of steelhead salmon from southern Oregon and Northern California is among the most abundant species in the region, making federal protection unnecessary.
NOAA Fisheries responded in 1995 to a previous petition that proposed the fish be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. In 1998 the agency concluded that protection of the population was not warranted. Following an exhaustive re-evaluation, agency biologists regard the outlook for these fish as having improved measurably, and that they are not likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Although solid estimates still are not available, the latest information puts the current population of steelhead at at least 50,000 fish -- and perhaps more than 100,000.