Life on the Rocks: Steller sea lions feel the impact of increased North Pacific Ocean activity

Steller sea lions of the North Pacific Ocean have experienced population declines since the 1970s, mostly as a result of habitat degradation due to contaminants and pollution, offshore exploration, and fisheries interactions. The Western Distinct Population Segment (DPS) has been listed as "endangered" under provisions of the Endangered Species Act. Protective measures for the Western DPS are fairly complex and encompass a wide range of living marine resource variants. In general, a 20-nautical-mile buffer zone has been established around "haul-outs," which are major breeding sites for the animals. Aircraft, terrestrial, and fishing buffer zones have also been established. Current methods of enforcing the buffer zones include sighting reports from vessels or aircraft operating near the protected areas and using the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS). While recent data shows the Western DPS stabilizing overall, the future projections for impacts to the species’ food sources and increased traffic show an ominous future for these Steller sea lions.


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  • Accession Number: 01679214
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 27 2018 2:05PM