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Soundings Archive

NMFS Publishes ESA Actions for Ringed Seal
The U. S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published final rules listing the Arctic, Okhotsk and Baltic subspecies of the ringed seal as threatened and the Ladoga subspecies of the ringed seal as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. NMFS will propose to designate critical habitat for the Arctic ringed seal in a future rulemaking. NMFS requests information that may be relevant to the designation of critical habitat for Arctic ringed seals.

In the same Federal Register notice, NMFS announced that it is withdrawing its proposed ESA section 4(d) protective regulations for threatened subspecies of the ringed seal because NMFS has determined that such regulations are not necessary or advisable for the conservation of the Arctic, Okhotsk, or Baltic subspecies of the ringed seal at this time. Given their current population sizes, the long-term nature of the primary threat to these subspecies (habitat alteration stemming from climate change), and the existing protections under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, NMFS has concluded that it is unlikely the proposed protective regulations would provide appreciable conservation benefits.

  • Click here to read NMFS’ Federal Register notice
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