NOAA announces revised recovery plan for Steller's sea lion
73 Fed. Reg. 11872 (Mar. 5, 2008)(Endangered and Threatened Species; Revised Recovery Plan for Distinct Population Segments of Steller Sea Lion)
SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces the availability of the Final Revised Recovery Plan, dated March 2008, for the western and eastern distinct population segments (DPS) of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus).
Photo of Steller sea lions by J.J. Vollenweider, NOAA Fisheries available online
COMMENTARY: After a long-term decline, the western DPS of the Steller's Sea Lion appears to be stabilizing. However, NOAA admits that "considerable uncertainty" remains about the threats to the species, including competition with fisheries (potentially high), environmental variability (potentially high), killer whale predation (potentially high), incidental take by fisheries (low), and toxic substances (medium). All of this uncertainty has led to many management measures to benefit the species, and these measures are not cheap. NOAA's recovery plan analysis for the Steller's Sea Lion notes that "Time and costs for recovery actions for the western DPS are estimated at $93,840,000 for the first 5 fiscal years and $430,425,000 for full recovery." In contrast, "The recovery program for the eastern DPS will cost an estimated $150,000 for the first year and $1,050,000 total, including 10 years of post-delisting monitoring."