Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi) 5-Year Review : Summary and Evaluation
This 5-year review is a periodic analysis of the Hawaiian monk seal to ensure that the listing classification as threatened or endangered on the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants is accurate.
The Hawaiian monk seal has a recovery Priority Number of One, based on criteria in the Recovery Priority Guidelines (55 FR 24296, June 15, 1990), that describes a high magnitude of threats, high recovery potential, and the potential for economic conflicts while implementing recovery actions. The magnitude of threats is considered to be high based on the rapid population decline that has persisted for over 20 years. Although our understanding of the most serious threat of food limitation is improving, the recovery potential is also high because the mitigation of other critical threats are known and in place. One such example is that the species’ current core habitat in the NWHI is well-protected, and if foraging conditions improve, then recovery can be expected. In addition, the recovery potential can be considered high because the MHI represent a large amount of under-occupied habitat, which could support a larger population of seals if appropriate management actions were in place. Finally, economic conflicts exist with fishery interactions and entanglement threats to the monk seals.