Steller sea lion recovery plan out for public review, revision

Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A federal agency is seeking additional public comment on a revised Steller sea lion draft recovery plan.

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The plan, published Monday in the Federal Register, is designed to aid recovery of the sea lion listed as endangered in Alaska's western population and threatened in the eastern population segment, which includes Southeast Alaska, said Sheela McLean, with the Alaska Region office of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

An initial plan was issued in May 2006, but McLean said since there were so many revisions made to that document, the federal agency wanted to reopen the process to give the public another chance to comment before final decisions are made.

Comments on the revised plan are due by Aug. 20.

The plan highlights three actions considered by the agency to be important to the recovery of the species:

• maintain adequate fishery conservation measures;

• design and implement an adaptive management program to evaluate conservation measures, and

• continue population monitoring and research on the key threats that may be impeding sea lion recovery.

The plan also outlines recovery criteria for both populations; recovery criteria are the parameters necessary to down-list or delist the species.

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