2011 Results of Steller Sea Lion Surveys in Alaska
Aerial survey to assess western DPS Steller sea lion pup production
An aerial survey to assess Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pup production in the range of the western distinct population segment in Alaska was conducted by the Alaska Fisheries Science Center from 27 June to 16 July 2011. A secondary objective was to survey adult and juvenile sea lions in areas missed during the 2010 survey, particularly in the central and western Aleutian Islands. We successfully surveyed 135 of the 179 targeted terrestrial rookeries and haul-outs in 2011. All 73 sites in the eastern, central, and western Gulf of Alaska and in the eastern Aleutian Islands between 144°-170°W were successfully surveyed, as were all 52 sites in the eastern half of the central Aleutian Islands between 170°-178°W and 10 of 13 sites in the western Aleutian Islands between 172°-177°E. However, we were unable to survey any of the 40 sites (including 7 rookeries) in the western half of the central Aleutian Islands between 177°E-178°W, 1 site (a nearly extinct rookery on Buldir) in the western Aleutian Islands, and 1 site (a small rookery on Walrus Island in the Pribilof Islands, eastern Bering Sea) because of persistent fog and bad weather. In addition, we could not survey 2 haul-outs (Alaid and Nizki) in the western Aleutian Islands due to airspace restrictions near Shemya Island.