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Pesticides a Risk to the Future of Pacific Salmon

17 April 2012

US - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has provided a draft biological opinion on the potential effects of three pesticides on the endangered pacific Salmon to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates pesticides. The EPA has now opened a comment period on the opinion.

Protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Pacific salmon has been under threat for many years from pesticide use. Following on from calls from conservationists to restrict the use of pesticides near salmon populations, the biological opinion on three new pesticides is the latest in the evaluation of the situation.

The EPA received a letter from James H. Lecky, Director, Office of Protected Resources, NOAA, stating that the continued use of the three pesticides, for home and agricultural use, will put pressure on the future of the Pacific salmon and harm their habits.

The three pesticides are as follows:

Trifluralin - This is the most toxic of the three active ingredients considered in the draft opinion to fish and other animals, though it is the least toxic of the three to aquatic plants. It has a variety of labeled uses, including numerous food crops, rights-of-ways, ornamentals, cottonwood plantations, turf, and home lawns and gardens.

Pendimethalin - This is more toxic than oryzalin to both aquatic plants and aquatic animals. It is used primarily in agricultural settings, but is also registered for use on ornamentals, rights-of- way, and homeowner turf.

Oryzalin - This is the least toxic of the three active ingredients addressed in the opinion; it is more toxic to aquatic plants than it is to fish and other animals. It is is registered for use in fruit and nut crops, vineyards, Christmas tree plantations, ornamentals, turf, and several other non-crop sites.

All three pesticides have been found to cause mortality of fish at concentrations ranging from 13 - 3,500 µg/L. The anticipated effects state that there will be harm to aquatic vegetation with continued use of the pesticides.

The deadline for submitting comments on the opinion is the 30 April 2012.

For more information on how to submit comments please follow:

TheFishSite News Desk

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