Nov. 13, 2000: The federal government lists the wild Atlantic salmon as an endangered species in Maine.

The decision, made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, grants federal protection for the species, which at the time is believed to have dwindled to fewer than 150 fish.

Gov. Angus King, an independent, and Maine’s two Republican U.S. senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, criticize the decision, having questioned the science behind the listing and the new rules’ potential economic effect.

Conservation groups in Maine and Canada praise the listing.

The listing applies on eight rivers – the Sheepscot and the Ducktrap in midcoast Maine; the Narraguagus, Pleasant, East Machias, Machias and Dennys in Washington County; and Cove Brook, which flows into the lower Penobscot River.

In 2005, the federal agencies finalize an Atlantic salmon recovery plan with the state of Maine. Four years later, they add the Androscoggin, Kennebec and Penobscot rivers and their tributaries to the list of Maine rivers where the species is protected.

The National Marine Fisheries Service announces in 2015 a five-year action plan that will take measures to protect eight species that might be in danger of extinction, focusing particularly on the wild Atlantic salmon.

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at:

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