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Oversight Field Hearing on "NOAA's Steller Sea Lion Science and Fishery Management Restrictions - Does the Science Support the Decisions?"
Monday, October 17, 2011 9:30 AM
Full Committee
Ruth Fisher Boardroom of Union Station at 401 South Jackson Street in Seattle, Washington


COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
Ruth Fisher Boardroom of Union Station, 401 South Jackson Street, Seattle, Washington
Monday, October 17, 2011
9:30 a.m. Pacific Time

OVERSIGHT FIELD HEARING ON:

  • "NOAA's Steller Sea Lion Science and Fishery Management Restrictions - Does the Science Support the Decisions?"

OPENING STATEMENTS:

The Honorable Doc Hastings
Chairman

The Honorable Don Young
Committee Member

WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:

Panel I

Eric Schwaab
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
National Marine Fisheries Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Department of Commerce

Doug Vincent-Lang
Special Projects Coordinator
Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Bill Tweit
Special Assistant
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Panel II

Larry Cotter
Chair, North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s
Steller Sea Lion Mitigation Committee and
Chief Executive Officer
Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Andrew Trites
Professor and Director
Marine Mammal Research Unit
University of British Columbia
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Gunnar Knapp
Professor of Economics
Institute of Social and Economic Research
University of Alaska Anchorage
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Tim Ragen
Executive Director
U.S. Marine Mammal Commission
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Panel III

Todd Loomis
Government & Industry Affairs
Cascade Fishing, Inc.
(Truth in Testimony Form)

David Little
President
Freezer Longline Coalition
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Rudy Tsukada
President
Aleut Enterprise, LLC
(Truth in Testimony Form)

Michael LeVine
Pacific Senior Counsel
Oceana
(Truth in Testimony Form)

BACKGROUND:

This hearing will examine questions regarding the science that justifies NOAA’s BiOp and the economic impacts of the fishery restrictions. In 1990, the Steller sea lion was added to the Endangered Species List and in 1997, the population was reclassified into two Distinct Population Segments – the western population was classified as endangered and eastern population was listed as threatened. Due to concerns that the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fishery was jeopardizing Steller sea lion recovery, the fishery has been operating under Endangered Species Act restrictions imposed in 2000. In November 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a new Biological Opinion (BiOp) for the Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries which retained restrictions from the 2000 BiOp and added significant new closures for the Pacific cod fishery and the Atka mackerel fishery in the western Aleutian Islands.

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