Listing the Beringia and Okhotsk DPSs of Bearded Seals Under the ESA
Final determination to list the Beringia and Okhotsk distinct populations segments (DPSs) of the Erignathus barbatus nauticus subspecies of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NOAA Fisheries will propose to designate critical habitat for the Beringia DPS in a future rulemaking.
In light of public comments and upon further review, we are withdrawing the proposed ESA section 4(d) protective regulations for the Beringia and Okhotsk DPSs because we have determined that such regulations are not necessary or advisable for the conservation of the Beringia and Okhotsk DPSs at this time. Given their current population sizes, the long-term nature of the primary threat to these DPSs (habitat alteration stemming from climate change), and the existing protections under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, it is unlikely that the proposed protective regulations would provide appreciable conservation benefits.