Apr 20 2012

NOAA Proposes Removing Eastern Steller Sea Lions from Endangered Species List

Stellar Sea Lions

Juneau, AK – NOAA is proposing to remove the eastern Steller sea lion, currently deemed “threatened,” from the list of endangered wildlife, after a status review by its biologists found the species is recovering sufficiently.

“This proposal reflects the continued recovery of the eastern population of Steller sea lions and the strong conservation partnership among NOAA Fisheries, the states, the fishing industry, and other stakeholders,” said NOAA’s Fisheries Service Alaska Regional Administrator Jim Balsiger.

NOAA Fisheries began a draft status review of the eastern population, which ranges from Alaska’s Cape Suckling to California’s Channel Islands, in June 2010, and opened a 60-day public comment period. Within a few days, NOAA received two petitions, one from the states of Washington and Oregon, and the other from the state of Alaska, asking that the eastern Steller sea lion be removed from threatened status under the Endangered Species Act.

The draft status review, which was completed in March 2012, shows the eastern Steller sea lion population has met the recovery criteria outlined in the recovery plan, which was developed by NOAA Fisheries in 1992 and revised in 2008.

There were approximately 34,000 eastern Steller sea lions in 1997, when the eastern and western stocks were found to be genetically different from each other. Estimates in 2010 put the eastern population at about 70,000.

The western stock, which ranges from Alaska as far as the Russian Pacific coast, will retain its endangered status.

Read the full news release on the NOAA’s website.

 

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