ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is putting restrictions on commercial fishing in the western Aleutian islands in an attempt to protect the endangered Steller sea lion.
NOAA issued a restriction on commercial fishing for mackerel and cod in the Aleutians to provide more food for the sea lions.
The announcement was made before the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council Wednesday afternoon.
The federal agency explained that the western Steller sea lion is failing to recover from a population decline. The species experienced a 45 percent decline between 2000 and 2008.
Some support NOAA, saying if steps aren't taken to help boost the sea lion population, there could be further restrictions.
“The substantial scientific evidence that we have shows that fishing is likely contributing to the chronic nutritional stress causing lower birth rates and this is overall telling us a story about how we've been fishing and the fact that we need to better manage our fisheries,” said Michael Levine, of Pacific Senior Council, Oceania.