A move to classify Illiamna Lake harbor seals as endangered has stalled, since the US National Marine Fisheries Services says the Center for Biological Diversity’s November 12th petition contained “numerous factual errors.”
The NMFS released an announcement over the weekend, saying:
“We have reviewed the petition, the literature cited in the petition, and other literature and information available in our files; we identified numerous factual errors, misquoted and incomplete references, and unsupported conclusions within the petition. Our review indicates that there is uncertainty and conflicting information specific to harbor seals in Iliamna Lake.”
There’s also ongoing confusion about whether the seals in Iliamna Lake are genetically different enough from Bristol Bay seals to warrant a listing.
Addressing suspicion that the listing would affect a potential Pebble Mine project, the Pebble Partnership said that regardless of the seals’ endangered status, they are “confident that development of the project by the Pebble Partnership will not affect their habitat or their numbers.”
Public comments on the Harbor Seals Petition should be submitted by to Jon Kurland, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, and identified by FDMS Docket Number NOAA-NMFS-2012-0236. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods: