Delisting the Eastern Distinct Population Segment of the Steller Sea Lion
Under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), we, NOAA Fisheries, issue this final rule to remove the eastern distinct population segment (DPS) of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. After receiving two petitions to delist this DPS, we completed a review of the status of the eastern DPS of Steller Sea Lion. Based on the information presented in the Status Review, the factors for delisting in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA, the recovery criteria in the 2008 Recovery Plan, the continuing efforts to protect the species, and information received during public comment and peer review, we have determined that this DPS has recovered and no longer meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species under the ESA: It is not in danger of extinction or likely to become so within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Thus, we find that the delisting of the DPS is warranted. This rule also makes technical changes that recodify existing regulatory provisions to remove special protections for the eastern DPS and clarify that existing regulatory protections for the western DPS of Steller sea lions continue to apply.