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Rep. Young Participates In Sea Lion Field Hearing

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Alaska Congressman Don Young participated in a field hearing today in Seattle held by the House Natural Resources Committee. The hearing focused on the science behind the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Stellar Sea Lion Biological Opinion (BiOp) and the economic impacts of the fishery restrictions that result from it. 

The Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fishery has been operating under Endangered Species Act restrictions imposed in 2000 because of worries over the fisheries impacts on the Steller Sea Lion population. The same fisheries, mainly the Pacific cod and Atka mackerel fisheries, faced further closures after NOAA issued a new Stellar Sea Lion BiOp in November 2010. 

"This is an important issue for Alaska and I thank Chairman Hastings for holding this hearing," said Rep. Young. "NOAA is relying on grossly inadequate science in order to justify their decisions when it comes to the Steller Sea Lion population. We have been down this road before. Time and time again, NOAA hides behind excuse after excuse in fear of another lawsuit rather than using the significant taxpayer dollars they've been appropriated for research to come up with answers to the most basic scientific questions. 

"Enough is enough; Alaska's economy is at stake. It's time the Federal government start using legitimate science to draw conclusions."

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