TASSC's Annual Meeting will be held April 26 in Anchorage, Alaska. A regular business meeting will follow immediately thereafter and continue into the 27th.
The meeting will be held in the AVI Board room, located at 1577 C Street, on the third floor.
An Agenda can be downloaded here.
Other materials that may be downloaded include:
Please contact us if you plan to attend or would like more information.
A telephonic link will be available. We hope to see you there!
Our 2010-2011 A Way of Life Calendar is now available! For more information see our Calendar page or contact us at 1.800.474.4362 or 907.286.2377.
On October 8, 2009, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published the final rule for critical habitat for the Southwest population of sea otter.
The SW sea otter population encompasses otters found from Kamishak Bay in Western Cook Inlet southwest to the end of the Aleutian Islands, including the Kodiak Island Archipelago, and the south and north sides of the Alaska Peninsula.
Critical habitat was first proposed in December 2008, encompassing approximately 5,900 square miles of near shore marine waters. Elements were identified that were deemed essential to the continued survival of the species. The primary rationale for determining which areas to include was determined to be features that provide protection and cover from marine predators; thus the proposed critical habitat encompassed areas that are shallow and close to shore.
Critical habitat became effective 30 days after the publication of final rule. With the designation of critical habitat, federal actions that occur within critical habitat cannot destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, as under the ESA, federal agencies are prohibited from jeopardizing the continued existence of an ESA listed species. Agencies with actions that affect critical habitat must consult with the USFWS. Actions that do not have a federal link (funding, permitting, authorized, etc.) are not subject to the consultation requirements.
A copy of the final rule can be found here.
For more information, including maps detailing the critical habitat see the USFWS Alaska region website.
Please contact us if would more information on any of these topics!
Steller sea lion harvest in 2008 has dropped to its lowest level since 1992, when harvest data collection first began. However, trends over the last few years indicate that harvests have stabilized. Despite the lower harvest levels, sea lion harvest and utilization continues to be important for subsistence.
A total of 146 sea lions are estimated to have been taken in 2008 (116 harvested & 30 sea lions struck and lost). By region, harvest levels (includes harvest and S&L) are estimated at:
Consistent with past years, in 2008, males and juveniles were the harvest preference. Males comprised 75% of all sea lions harvested; 42% were adults, 58% were juvenile and 0% were pups.
Harbor seal harvest has also declined since 1992, and the 2008 seal harvest was the second lowest since the program began. The reasons for these declines are not certain. Possible factors include fewer hunters, personal circumstances of the hunters, changing food needs, concern over population status, or economic considerations such as high fuel prices.
The majority of data was collected through systematic retrospective surveys in over 60 coastal communities, through a program administered by the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission, in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Subsistence Division, Bristol Bay Native Association, Aleut Marine Mammal Commission, and Southeast Alaska Inter-Tribal Fish and Wildlife Commission. Data for St. Paul Island was collected through a separate program collecting real-time data administered by the St. Paul Tribal Council Ecosystem Conservation Office. For the 2008 survey, data was collected in 52 communities.
For more information, see:
The National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML), Alaska Fisheries Science Center, is the federal research agency for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
NMML conducts surveys in Alaska every other year to estimate pup production (the number Steller sea lion pups born that year) in order to determine pup production trend. In alternate years, NMML conducts aerial surveys to document non-pup (juvenile and adult) abundance and trend.
The 2009 survey was conducted over a 3 week period from late-June to mid-July. The survey had several objectives. The first purpose of the survey was to conduct the biannual pup survey. The second objective of the survey was to survey non-pup sea lions in Southeast Alaska and the central/eastern Gulf of Alaska (GOA) to gain a better understanding of seasonal movement and its impact on survey timing and results.
PUP Survey Results: Western Stock
As with the non-pup survey results from 2008, regional differences in trend emerge.
From 2005 to 2009:
From 2001/02 to 2009
PUP Survey Results:
Southeast AK Overall pup production also increased at the 5 rookeries in Southeast Alaska, totaling 7,462 pups born in 2009. This was an increase of 1,933 pups from the 2005 survey. This is equivalent to 97 more pups born each year at each of the 5 major rookeries.
Comparing the survey results to those from 2001/02 “rookery pup production increased 50% (from 4969 to 7443) in SE Alaska, which is equivalent to an increase of approximately 62 pups per rookery per year” (DeMaster, 2009).
NON-PUP Survey results: Southeast AK & Central/Eastern GOA
In the “late” 2009 survey as compared to the “early” 2008 survey, NMML counted:
Based on these results, there is an adjusted estimate for juvenile/adult sea lions in the Western population of 26,589 (or an alternate estimate of 26,407 depending on treatment of “extra” non-pups in the central Gulf). Based on these estimates, for the Western population non-pup Stellers, there has been an increase of 12% (or 11%) in juvenile/adult sea lion numbers from 2000 to 2008, and a positive increase of 1% (or 0%) from 2004 to 2008 in non-pup numbers.
Future studies will be necessary to determine the impact of seasonal movement on survey timing and trend survey results.
For more information, see:
In our last newsletter, we reported on a new DVD produced and distributed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game talking about marine mammal entanglement and ways to reduce this threat.
A related article was recently published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, entitled “Entanglement of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in marine debris: Identifying causes and finding solutions” (Raum-Suryan et al., 2009).
To date, there is very little Steller sea lion entanglement reported in the literature, however marine mammal entanglement in marine debris is a world-wide problem. The authors thought this may be because there was little effort spent looking for entangled sea lions, and that those animals that became entangled may die at sea, thus never be found or reported.
The major aim of their study was to collect baseline data for Steller sea lion marine debris entanglement. The study occurred in Southeast Alaska and northern British Columbia from 2000 to 2007. Entanglement data was collected incidentally during other studies at rookeries and haul-outs, at a total of 78 sites. Opportunistic data from public reports or from other agencies / researchers was also used.
Of the animals observed:
Of the 190 animals with a neck entanglements:
Of the 194 animals that had ingested fishing gear:
Juveniles were most commonly observed entangled (28%) and with ingested longline gear (over 80%). Males ingested more salmon fishing gear than females.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Besides being careful of garbage that can end up in the ocean, two of the most important things we can do are:
For more information, see: