U.S. District Court ruled in favor of protecting Steller Sea Lions
The State of Alaska and a Seattle-based commercial fishing industry sued to overturn new protections for Steller sea lions that limited fishing in areas important to the Steller sea lions’ survival. Oceana intervened in the lawsuit to help the government defend the new measures necessary to prevent jeopardy to Steller sea lions and to protect their critical habitat. The federal district court in Alaska rejected the industry arguments and upheld the protections, which limit bottom trawling and fishery removals of Steller sea lion prey in critical areas. The court required the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare an environmental impact statement evaluating changes to the management of the fisheries by March 2, 2014.
National Marine Fisheries Service implements new protections for Steller sea lions
In recognition of ongoing severe declines in the Western population of Steller sea lions and the failure of the overall population to meet pre-established recovery criteria indicating improvements in the status of the population, the National Marine Fisheries Service implemented new protections for the species. The new measures, which limit fishing in the western Aleutian Islands, are a necessary first step toward better conservation and management of the Aleutian Islands ecosystem.