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NOAA to review whether ribbon seal should be listed under the Endangered Species Act

Juneau, AK —NOAA’s Fisheries Service is announcing the initiation of a new status review of the ribbon seal to determine whether the species warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Ribbon seals inhabit the northern North Pacific Ocean and adjoining sub-Arctic and Arctic seas, where they occur most commonly in the Bering and Okhotsk seas. This species is strongly associated with annually formed sea ice during breeding and molting and spends most of the rest of the year at sea.

In December 2008, NOAA Fisheries determined that listing of the ribbon seal was not warranted. New information has since become available, including data on ribbon seal movements and diving, and a modified threat-specific approach to analyzing the foreseeable future. In consideration of this new information, NOAA Fisheries is conducting a new status review and will submit a 12-month finding to the Federal Register.

To ensure the status review is complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, NOAA Fisheries is opening a 60-day comment period to seek information on ribbon seals from the public, government agencies, Alaska Natives, the scientific community, industry, and other interested parties.

Send comments to Kaja Brix, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by FDMS Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2011-0248, by any one of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions: Submit via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov.
  • Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
  • Fax: (907) 586–7557.
  • Hand delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK.

More information about ribbon seals can be found at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/protectedresources/seals/ice.htm

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

To learn more about NOAA Fisheries in Alaska, visit alaskafisheries.noaa.gov or www.afsc.noaa.gov.

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