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.
- Alaska Airlines is still ironing out operational wrinkles following the acquisition of Virgin America last year. At the same time, its smaller, regional airline is still grappling with a pilot shortage.
- A green sponge discovered in 2005 in Southeast Alaska waters has unique properties that could be used to treat certain types of cancer. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hosted a news conference Wednesday morning.
- An international television production company has optioned the rights for two of memoirs written by a Haines author. The small town may have more than 15 minutes of fame if the show comes to fruition.
- The Petersburg borough has rejected applications for the recall of four borough assembly members. The borough’s attorney has recommended against issuing recall petitions and defended the assembly’s decision to meet in May behind closed doors.