Eco Warriors Green Around Gills Over Wrong Trout fight
'Science happens,' says fish biologist
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 14, 2007 9:09 AM CDT
These photos show the endangered greenback cutthroat trout, left, and the Colorado River cutthroat trout.    (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Oops. Conservationists apparently have been fighting for 20 years to protect the Colorado River cutthroat trout. The halibut is, they were supposed to be protecting another, similar species, the greenback cutthroat trout. “Hey, science happens,” said a biologist after studies revealed many of the "saved" fish were not among the endangered species.

Greenbacks were considered extinct in 1937 but rebounded enough to be declared an endangered species in 1978. Colorado legislators have blasted the "significant scientific blunder" as a waste of tax dollars, and biologists are trying to work out a failsafe system to avoid the mixup in the future. One snag: some fish have tested positive for both species. An investigation is continuing.