WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Department of the Interior properly denied a request by a conservation group to place the westslope cutthroat trout on the endangered species list, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
American Wildlands sought to save the species of trout, claiming the fish is in danger because it has become cross-bred, or “hybridized,” with other kinds of trout.
The group sued the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after the request was denied. American Wildlands particularly objected to the counting of hybridized fish to determine that the species was not in danger.
Judge Griffith ruled that the agencies used the best data collection methods at their disposal.
“Genetic testing is a relatively new technique for classifying fish,” the judge wrote. “Generic data is not available for the large majority of (westslope cutthroat trout) populations.”
Griffith ruled that government did not abuse its discretion when it relied on morphological data to count the fish.
The fish’s scientific name, Oncorhynchus clarki lewisi, pays tribute to explorers Lewis and Clark, who found the fish in 1805 at the Great Falls of the Missouri River.