Alaska Files to remove ringed seal from Endangered Species List

“RINGED SEAL” is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KINY) – The state of Alaska and the North Slope County on Wednesday filed a complaint against the National Marine Fisheries Service to seek removal of arctic ringed seals from the endangered species list.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the ringed seal as an endangered species in 2012, using outdated methods to calculate the impact that climate change would ultimately have on the population and limiting commercial activities in the ringed seal habitat.

The state filed this lawsuit to recognize the strength of the population and to create more opportunities for commercial development in ringed seal habitats.

“The NMFS’ decision to list ringed seals was not a wise application of the Endangered Species Act,” said Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Douglas Vincent-Lang. “Ringed seals number in the millions and face no immediate threat, so the population simply doesn’t meet the definition of an ‘endangered species’. NMFS then sharpened its irrational approach by rejecting the state’s delisting request, which was based on state-accumulated scientific evidence since listing demonstrating the seal’s continued health and resilience.”

The complaint consists of the following statement:

“In listing the Arctic ringed seal as a threatened species in 2012, the NMFS determined that the main threat to the species is habitat change due to climate change, relying heavily on the climate projections in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007). Still a work in progress After the 90-day outcome, the NMFS failed to assess the status of the species using the more recent analysis of projected climate change presented in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (2013) or scientific data on ringed seal responses to to account for the habitat loss observed since then the 2012 listing.”

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor spoke about the complaint.

“So often, federal policy regarding Alaska is based on inaccurate information and a ‘lockdown’ mentality from those who have either never been here or haven’t really investigated what’s going on. This is especially true when it comes to wildlife and marine life in our great state. All we ask is that federal agencies really follow the science and not just rhetoric or myth. We believe there can be a balance between protecting species that need to be protected while also allowing for proper development Ringed seals are an excellent example of a species that is actually thriving and does not belong on the endangered species list. Let us protect what needs to be protected, but eliminate unnecessary protection that does nothing but hinder responsible development that is vital to the future of our living condition.”

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