NOAA completes report on impacts of Steller sea lion protection

Measures will effect Aleutian Island fisheries

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by Mike Ford

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released of their final environmental impact statement for Steller sea lion protection.

The measures include limiting harvest and managing the location, gear type, and timing of fishing activity to protect the endangered Steller sea lions and minimize economic impacts on the groundfish fisheries in the Aleutian Islands

The western distinct population segment of Steller sea lions is listed as endangered and the population in the Aleutian Islands and is declining. Principal prey species for Steller sea lions in the Aleutian Islands include mackerel, Pacific cod and pollock.

NOAA spokesperson Julie Speegle says the new plan is all about balance “The fishery management measures will separate both fishing activity and Stellar sea lions by both space and time so that we have the correct balance between protecting the endangered Stellar sea lion, while minimizing the economic impact to the ground fish fisheries”

NOAA Fisheries expects to implement the new regulations in January 2015.

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