Pacific fisher

Lawsuit Filed Over Feds' Denial of Endangered Species Protection to Pacific Fishers

Rare Mink-like Carnivore Threatened by Logging, Poaching, Poisoning

SAN FRANCISCO— Four conservation groups filed suit today in U.S. District Court challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s unexpected decision in April to deny Endangered Species Act protection to Pacific fishers. Closely related to minks, martens and wolverines, Pacific fishers are severely threatened by logging, use of toxic rodenticides by illegal marijuana growers and incidental capture in fur traps. Although the Service proposed federal protection for the fisher in 2014, the agency reversed course and withdrew the proposal in 2016 even though the fisher's poor status remained largely the same.

The decision to deny protections to the Pacific fisher is the latest in a string of politically motivated decisions from the Fish and Wildlife Service, in which regional staff overruled decisions by Service biologists to protect species. In December 2015 conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the Service for inexplicably denying protection to Humboldt martens, another rare West Coast carnivore on the brink of extinction. In April 2016 a federal judge in Montana criticized the Service for bowing to political pressure in illegally reversing a proposal to protect the estimated 300 wolverines remaining in the lower 48 states. And in June the groups filed notice of their intent to bring today’s suit against the Service over its failure to protect the Pacific fisher.

“We first petitioned for protection of fishers more than 20 years ago,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It's a travesty that after finally acknowledging the precarious status of the fisher in 2014, the Fish and Wildlife Service bowed to the timber industry and declined to protect these beautiful carnivores.”  

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Learn more about saving Pacific fishers.

Contact: Noah Greenwald


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Media Contacts:
Mike Stark, Communications Director, (520) 623-5252, ext. 315

Jessica Herrera, Media Specialist – Population and Sustainability, (520) 260-17256

Steve Jones, Media Specialist – Oceans, (415) 305-3866

Andy Parker, Media Specialist – Endangered Species, (503) 310-5569

Patrick Sullivan, Media Specialist – Climate Change, Fracking, (415) 632-5316

Tom Brown, Media Specialist – Public Lands, (520) 623-5252 ext. 326

Russ McSpadden, Communications Associate – Media Photos

Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; Pacific fisher courtesy NPS