Wednesday May 4, 2022

The Log

National Oceanic Atmospheric Association Fisheries has designated critical habitat in U.S. waters off Alaska’s coastline for the Arctic ringed seals and the Beringia distinct population segment of bearded seals, both of which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. (ESA).

The Act requires NOAA Fisheries to designate critical habitats for listed species in areas within the jurisdiction of the United States. Critical habitat identifies geographic areas containing features essential to the conservation of such listed species.

For these species, critical habitat includes marine waters of the Northern Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas. Necessary habitat boundaries differ between the two species, reflecting differences in where the essential habitat features for each species are found. The final rule to designate critical habitat for the Arctic ringed seals excludes an area of the Beaufort Sea used by the Navy for training and testing activities, based on national security impacts.

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