Three independent reviewers are questioning the science behind a decision to restrict commercial fishing to protect endangered Steller sea lions in Alaska.
The reviewers say a federal biological opinion doesn’t support that restricting fishing in the Aleutian Islands will help sea lion survival.
The western population of Steller sea lions was listed as endangered in 1997. The National Marine Fisheries Service says their numbers fell sharply from 250,000 in the early 1970s and remained at just 49,000 in 2008.
State of Alaska attorneys in an unsuccessful court case argued against fishing restrictions and said the population of western Steller sea lions is growing.
Fisheries Service spokeswoman Julie Speegle says the agency is reviewing the independent report and will determine whether follow-up actions are warranted.
- The series of simulated drills was known as the Arctic Chinook exercise and wrapped Thursday morning in Kotzebue, according to a Coast Guard press release.
- Scientists are trying to learn how to prevent botulism in seal oil, a main ingredient in many traditional Alaska Native foods.
- Alaska's earthquake simulator will visit Wednesday, Aug. 31, to Thursday, Sept. 1, in downtown Juneau giving residents some emergency preparedness practice at an event that promises to shake, rattle and roll.
- The creator of the Facebook page the Juneau Community Collective is running for public office and that created a problem. He had to figure out how to continue moderating political comments on the page without falling into a conflict of interest.