Commercial fishermen who participate in the groundfish fisheries in Alaska sent a release today thanking Alaska Governor Sean Parnell for taking a strong position on the Endangered Species Act in regard to Steller sea lions.
“The Pacific cod fisheries of the Aleutians should not be closed based on the fact that sea lion populations are increasing. This fishery is important for Alaska and we greatly appreciate that Governor Parnell has been so responsive in reviewing and opposing the federal government’s plan to close waters where the fisheries occur,” said Linda Kozak, a Kodiak based fisheries consultant.
Governor Parnell has petitioned the federal government to remove the eastern stock of Steller sea lions from the endangered species list as a result of a strong population growth. The eastern stock has surpassed the recovery objectives and needs to be de-listed.
The Steller sea lion population in the western area has increased in the last ten years and is trending toward recovery goals. Governor Parnell has submitted comments to National Marine Fisheries Service asking them not to put unnecessary fishery closures in place.
Rob Wurm, managing director of Alaskan Leader Fisheries stated, “Governor Parnell has been a strong advocate for the commercial fishing fleet and coastal communities. We can’t thank him enough for his leadership on this important issue and for challenging the federal government on their proposals to close fisheries needlessly.