Lawsuit pushing National Marine Fisheries Service to protect habitat for Puget Sound Rockfins

SEATTLE — The Center for Biological Diversity said Thursday it intends to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for missing a deadline to designate protected habitat for endangered Puget Sound rockfish. It’s been three years since they were listed.

A lawyer for the group in San Francisco, Catherine Kilduff, says some rockfish can live to be 100 years old and losing them would be like clear-cutting an old growth forest.

Fisheries Service spokesman Brian Gorman in Seattle says the agency will likely complete the designation within 60 days, before a lawsuit would be filed.

Gorman says the designation will have little practical effect because it would overlay existing protections in Puget Sound for Chinook salmon and killer whales. The designation serves as a red flag to federal agencies.

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