Biological Opinion on the Issuance of Marine Mammal Protection Act Permit No. 26254 to Alaska Department of Fish and Game for Scientific Research on Ice Seals
The NOAA Fisheries opinion on the effects of research actions on the bearded seal Beringia DPS, ringed seal Arctic subspecies, Steller sea lion and several whale species. NMFS Consultation Number: AKRO-2022-03483.
The ice seal research activities that are the subject of this consultation are part of an on-going research program by ADFG begun in 2000. The purpose of the research is to monitor the behavior, health, and movements of four species of seals: ringed, bearded, spotted, and ribbon seals in the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas relative to changes in the environment and industrial activities in order to identify and evaluate potential conservation issues. Prior permits (numbers 20466, 15324, and 358-1787) and consultations have been issued for five-year periods for the same activities. These consultations resulted in biological opinions that concluded that the proposed action was not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of ringed seals and bearded seals; may affect but was not likely to adversely affect listed whales and Steller sea lions; and may affect but was not likely to adversely affect designated critical habitat for North Pacific right whales and Steller sea lions. Critical habitat was not designated for ringed or bearded seals when consultations were completed for the prior research activities.