The Pinniped-Fisheries Project


Earth Island Institute's Campaign to Protect Seals and Sea Lions

Steller sea lion campaign

Steller sea lions are listed under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) as endangered in the western portion of its range and as threatened in the eastern portion. The majority of Steller sea lions live in Alaskan waters. Since the 1960's, the western population has plummeted by 80%. This precipitous decline correlates with the meteoric rise of the factory trawl industry in the foraging waters of the Steller sea lion and near its rookeries and haul-outs. NMFS has fallen far short of adequately charting a course for recovery of this species and the beleaguered ecosystem of which it is a part. This campaign is aimed at supporting the recovery of the Steller sea lions and the North Pacific ecosystem and promoting sustainable fisheries.

Sea Lions

California sea lion/ Pacific harbor seal campaign

In 1997, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a draft report to Congress recommending MMPA relaxation to allow fishermen and agency personnel to kill seals and sea lions. NMFS has made minimal progress on development of nonlethal deterrents for fishermen to use in interactions with sea lions and proposes to legalize the practice of shooting sea lions.

Salmon and steelhead populations have plummeted due to habitat destruction caused by human activity such as boat locks, dams, poor fish ladders, siltation in streams due to logging, diversion of water from streams for agriculture, and water pollution. Largely at human-created bottlenecks, pinnipeds sometimes prey on protected runs of fish. NMFS proposes lethal removal of these pinnipeds rather than squarely addressing nonlethal alternatives and the causes of the fish decline.

Our CA sea lion/Pacific harbor seal campaign is directed at stopping the scapegoating of pinnipeds, preventing weakening of the MMPA, and working with fishermen, conservationists, and scientists to find real solutions, not diversionary tactics, for fishermen and for depleted salmonid populations.

Harbor seal

International Marine Mammal Project
300 Broadway, suite 28    San Francisco, CA  94133
or fax 415/788-7324

Elephant seal pup

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