Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Management of the Subsistence Harvest of Northern Fur Seals on St. Paul Island, Alaska
Proposed changes to the management of subsistence use of northern fur seals on St. Paul Island, Alaska.
NOAA Fisheries proposes to change the management of the subsistence use of the Eastern Pacific stock of northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) based on a petition from the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (ACSPI), Tribal Government. NOAA Fisheries has evaluated alternatives, which consider balancing the use of federal regulations and cooperative management with ACSPI to co-manage fur seal subsistence use. NOAA Fisheries evaluated changes in the subsistence harvest range setting process, allowing a portion of the harvest to be comprised of male fur seal pups, hunting seals using firearms, accidental mortality of females, and shared management with ACSPI in the Co-Management Council. NOAA Fisheries received comments on the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), and responded to those substantive comments in preparing the Final SEIS. Alternative 2 Option B is the Preferred Alternative, and it includes broad regulation of subsistence use under the Fur Seal Act. The Preferred Alternative also includes the Co-management Council to share specific decision-making between ACSPI and NOAA Fisheries for management consistent with the requirements of Marine Mammal Protection Act to provide greater flexibility in subsistence use, conservation, and food security.