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Soundings Archive

NMFS Denies NGO's Petition to List Ribbon Seals under the ESA
On December 30, 2008, the U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service announced that it was not listing the ribbon seal as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. This announcement followed NMFS' twelve-month review of a petition to list the seal under the ESA.

The listing petition was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity. CBD's petition to list was "primarily due to concern about threats to this species' habitat from climate warming and loss of sea ice." CBD's petition "also requested that critical habitat be designated for ribbon seals concurrently with listing under the ESA."

In denying CBD's petition, NMFS explained:

    "After a formal review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing of the ribbon seal is not warranted at this time. Although the ribbon seal population abundance is likely to decline gradually for the foreseeable future, primarily from slight but chronic impacts on reproduction and survival caused by reduced frequency of years with sea ice of suitable extent, quality, and duration of persistence, it is not in danger of extinction or likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range."
  • Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice of decision not to list

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