Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced its intent to delist the eastern population of Steller sea lions, which range from the Gulf of Alaska to California. This population of sea lions was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1990, and has now made a significant recovery. This success story for one of the Pacific Ocean’s top ocean predators shows that the ESA works.
“The delisting of the eastern population of Steller sea lions is a success story for the Endangered Species Act,” said Susan Murray, Oceana’s Deputy Vice President, Pacific. “We are all the keepers of our oceans, and measures like the ESA help to protect and restore the health and biodiversity of the sea.”
Unlike the eastern population, the western population of Steller sea lions, which range from Alaska to Russia, has not yet recovered. The western population competes with large trawl fisheries for important prey, and Oceana hopes that it is allowed to rebuild in the same manner as its southern neighbors.
“We must maintain and improve protections from industrial groundfish fishing to allow the western population of Steller sea lions to recover,” said Jon Warrenchuk, Campaign Manager and Senior Ocean Scientist. “Competition for the limited pollock, cod, and Atka mackerel—the western Steller’s main food sources—is a problem that requires good management and cooperation.”
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.