Target: Alaskan Regional Administrator of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration James W. Balsiger
Goal: Reinstate ban on commercial fishing fleets to protect the endangered Steller sea lion
Recently the National Marine Fisheries Service lifted a ban that protected the endangered Steller sea lion. By doing so, the Service would be allowing industrial fleets back into the sea lion’s habitat, threatening their population. With the species’ population steadily declining already, this rule could do much more harm.
In the 1970s, the population of the western stock of Steller sea lion located near the Aleutian Islands began dropping inexplicably. By the late 1990s, the population had declined so severely, it was listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Steller sea lions prey on many fish in the area including pollock, Pacific cod, and mackerel. Unfortunately, fishing fleets in the area aim to catch these fish as well. A few years ago, rules were implemented to protect this creature. A decision was made to ban industrial fishing fleets in the western stock sea lion’s habitat. This reduced competition between the sea lions and fishing fleets, allowing the sea lions to thrive. By preventing fishing fleets from stealing meals from the Steller sea lions, their numbers were better protected. Studies show that pregnant and nursing mothers and their pups depend on a plentiful fish diet for survival.
However, the National Marine Fisheries Service has now lifted this ban and allowed industrial fleets back into the Steller sea lion’s habitat. The results from this decision could be disastrous. This animal needs more protection and no commercial fishing fleets should be allowed back into its habitat while the species remains endangered. Action must be taken to reinstate the ban on industrial fishing fleets into the western area of the Aleutian Islands so that the Steller sea lions may be given the chance of survival. Please stop industrial fleets from stealing the sea lion’s main food source by asking the National Marine Fisheries Service to take action and restore the ban.
Dear Regional Administrator Balsiger,
The Steller sea lion is an endangered species threatened by industrial fishing fleets. When fishing fleets come into their habitat and steal a majority of their main food source, the sea lions are unable to thrive. Studies show that pups and nursing sea lions depend on readily available fish. Without it, their chances of survival decline drastically.
Banning industrial fishing fleets eliminates competition for the sea lions and ensures a better chance of success for the species. However, by lifting the ban, the National Marine Fisheries Service brought back the original threats on the population. If no action is taken to prevent these fleets from stealing the Steller sea lion’s main food source, there is a possibility it could drive the species to extinction.
Please help protect the western stock of the Steller sea lion by reinstating the ban on industrial fishing fleets in the sea lions’ habitat. By eliminating competition, the sea lions’ population will be given a chance to recover. This endangered species deserves more protection and the National Marine Fisheries Service has the power to do so.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: NancyHeise via Wikimedia Commons