Friday, May 14, 2010

BiOp bulletin

Recently I've touched on the subject of the forthcoming "biological opinion," or BiOp, from the National Marine Fisheries Service concerning the status of the endangered western population of Steller sea lions.

We've been waiting an awfully long time for this document, and the anticipation has instilled fear in Alaska's billion-dollar bottomfish industry, which some believe competes with the sea lions for food.

Anyway, today we have word that NMFS intends to unveil the BiOp by late July.

Naturally, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council — which has industry members plus public officials from Alaska, Washington and Oregon — wants to weigh in should NMFS seek to increase or relax sea lion protections for the 2011 fishing season based on the BiOp.

So the council and its subcommittees plan to hold a special meeting Aug. 16-20 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage.

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