ANCHORAGE — The National Marine Fisheries Service announced Thursday it will consider listing a population of harbor seals that live in a freshwater Alaska lake as a threatened or endangered species, a decision that could affect the massive Pebble Mine development project.
The agency said it has accepted a petition filed in November by the Center for Biological Diversity, kicking off a status review of the seals that live in Iliamna Lake 200 miles southwest of Anchorage.
The animals are the only known U.S. freshwater population of harbor seals, but a listing carries the added importance of possible effects on the Pebble Mine. The proposed open-pit copper and gold mine would require a 140-mile road to Cook Inlet. About 50 to 60 miles would pass along the lake shore, where the seals hunt for salmon.
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National Fisherman Live: 1/27/15
In this episode:
Assessment: Atlantic menhaden is not overfished
Bering Sea pollock fishery casts off
Dock to Dish opens Florida’s first CSF
Second wave of disaster funds for Alaska
Fisherman lands N.C.’s largest bluefin ever
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.