Dozens of Alaskans showed up at the Egan Center in Anchorage Monday night to weigh in on a proposal to list some ringed and bearded seals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Last December the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published proposed rules to list ringed seals found in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea and bearded seals found in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as threatened.
Many who testified expressed concern and disappointment with the proposal, a sentiment echoed by one official with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“The state is disappointed that the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife] Service did not work closely with us in the collection and assessment of information and the development of models used to justify the recommended action. As a trustee of these species, the Service has an obligation under the Endangered Species Act to directly consult and work with the State. Simply providing an opportunity for public comment is insufficient consultation with the State,” said Doug Vincent-Lang of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Similar public hearings on the proposed seal listings are scheduled for Barrow and Nome.
Written comments on the issue will be accepted until March 25.