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National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Ringed, Ribbon, Spotted and Bearded Ice Seals


Ribbon Seals

ribbon seal
Ribbon seal. Photo: Mike Cameron, NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory

Endangered Species Act (ESA) Status Review

  • News Release: Endangered Species Act listing not warranted for ribbon seals - Ribbon seals remain on list of species of concern
  • 78 FR 41371, July 10, 2013. Notice that NMFS has completed a comprehensive status review of the ribbon seal and has determined that listing the ribbon seal as threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted at this time. NMFS also announces the availability of the ribbon seal status review report.
  • Status Review of the Ribbon Seal, June 2013
  • NMFS entered a settlement agreement on August 30, 2011, under which NMFS agreed to initiate a status review of the ribbon seal and complete a 12-month finding by December 10, 2012, as to whether listing this species as threatened or endangered under the ESA is warranted. On November 27, 2012, NMFS and the other parties to this agreement agreed to change the deadline to June 10, 2013.
  • 76 FR 77467, December 13, 2011. Announcement of initiation of a new status review to determine whether listing the ribbon seal as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act is warranted. Comment period through February 13, 2012.
    • News Release: NOAA to review whether ribbon seal should be listed under the Endangered Species Act
  • Frequently Asked Questions: 11 x 8.5, 11 x 17, July 2013

Previous ESA Listing-Related Actions


Bearded and Ringed Seals

Endangered Species Act (ESA) Listings

NOAA Fisheries is listing four subspecies of ringed seals and two distinct population segments of bearded seals under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):

  • Bearded seals: the Beringia and Okhotsk distinct population segments (DPSs) will be listed as threatened
  • Ringed seals: the Arctic, Okhotsk, and Baltic subspecies will be listed as threatened, while the Ladoga subspecies will be listed as endangered

Listing Information


A ringed seal pup peeks out from its protective snow cave near Kotzebue, Alaska. Photo: Mike Cameron, NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory
  • News Release: December 2012
  • Final determination to list the Beringia and Okhotsk distinct populations segments (DPSs) of the Erignathus barbatus nauticus subspecies of the bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS will propose to designate critical habitat for the Beringia DPS in a future rulemaking. This final rule is effective on February 26, 2013. Replies to the request for information regarding designation of critical habitat for the Beringia DPS must be received by February 26, 2013.
  • Final determination to list the Arctic (Phoca hispida hispida), Okhotsk (Phoca hispida ochotensis), and Baltic (Phoca hispida botnica) subspecies of the ringed seal (Phoca hispida) as threatened and the Ladoga (Phoca hispida ladogensis) subspecies of the ringed seal as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS will propose to designate critical habitat for the Arctic ringed seal in a future rulemaking. This final rule is effective on February 26, 2013. Replies to the request for information regarding designation of critical habitat for Arctic ringed seals must be received by February 26, 2013.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (8.5x11) and larger format (11x17) July 2013
  • Designating critical habitat - Questions and Answers

ESA Section 7

  • Biological Opinion - Issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorization under Section101(a)(5)(a) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act to TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (TGS) for Marine 2D Seismic Activities in the Federal and International Waters in the Chucki Sea, during the 2013 Open Water Season, July 2013
  • Biological Opinion: Oil and Gas Leasing and Exploration Activities in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska, April 2013

Litigation - Bearded Seal ESA Listing Decision


Previous ESA Listing-Related Actions

Special Peer Review


Extension of final determinations

  • 76 FR 77465, December 13, 2011. NMFS extends the date for the final determination regarding the proposed rule (75 FR 77496, December 10, 2010) to list two distinct population segments of bearded seals as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. A final determination on this listing action will be made no later than June 10, 2012.
  • 76 FR 77466, December 13, 2011. NMFS extends the date for the final determination regarding the proposed rule (75 FR 77476, December 10, 2010) to list four subspecies of the ringed seal as threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. A final determination on this listing action will be made no later than June 10, 2012.
  • News Release: NOAA extends final decision on listing some ringed and bearded seals as threatened.
  • Public Comment Analysis Report for the proposed Endangered Species Act listing of the Beringia and Okhotsk distinct populations segments of bearded seals and the Arctic, Okhotsk, Baltic and Ladoga subspecies of ringed seals as threatened, July 2011

Status Review


Petition


Spotted Seals

Final ESA Listing

Previous ESA Listing-Related Actions


Diseased Seals


Co-Management


Research

NMFS Research

Associated Research


Development in Beaufort and Chukchi Seas

spotted seal pup on ice
Spotted seal pup on ice. Photo: NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory

  • 79 FR 21523, April 16, 2014. NMFS has received an application from BP Exploration for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting a shallow geohazard survey in Foggy Island Bay, Beaufort Sea during the 2014 open water season. Comment period through May 16, 2014.
  • Biological Opinion - Issuance of regulations and a letter of authorization to take marine mammals incidental to offshore oil and gas operations at the Northstar development in the Beaufort Sea from January 2014 through January 2019, February 2014
  • Biological Opinion - Issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorization under Section101(a)(5)(a) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act to TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA (TGS) for Marine 2D Seismic Activities in the Federal and International Waters in the Chucki Sea, during the 2013 Open Water Season, July 2013
    • 78 FR 35508, June 12, 2013. NMFS has received an application from TGS–NOPEC Geophysical Company ASA for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment only, incidental to a marine 2-dimensional seismic survey program in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska, during the open water season of 2013. Comment period through July 12, 2013.
  • 77 FR 65060, October 24, 2012. NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to ION Geophysical to take, by harassment, small numbers of nine species of marine mammals incidental to in-ice marine seismic surveys in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, Alaska, during the fall and winter of 2012. Effective October 17, 2011, through December 15, 2012.
  • Point Thomson, ExxonMobil
    • NMFS letter to the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, September 2012
    • Biological Assessment of the Bowhead Whale (Balaena mysticetus), Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida), and Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus) - Prepared for ExxonMobil Point Thomson Project North Slope, Alaska, URS Corporation, November 2011
  • News Release: NOAA issues science-based measures to protect marine mammals during Shell's proposed oil and gas exploratory programs in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas
    • 77 FR 27322, May 9, 2012. Notice that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to offshore exploration drilling on Outer Continental Shelf leases in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Effective July 1, 2012, through October 31, 2012.
    • 77 FR 27284, May 9, 2012. Notice that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Shell Offshore Inc. to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to offshore exploration drilling on Outer Continental Shelf leases in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska. Effective July 1, 2012, through October 31, 2012.
    • Incidental Harassment Authorization, Shell's Application and NMFS' Environmental Assessment
    • 77 FR 11492, February 27, 2012. Notice of availability of the "Draft Environmental Assessment for the Issuance of Incidental Harassment Authorizations for the Take of Marine Mammals by Harassment Incidental to Conducting Exploratory Drilling Programs in the U.S. Beaufort and Chukchi Seas." Comment period through March 28, 2012.
  • 76 FR 39706, July 6, 2011. Notice of a request from BP Exploration Inc. for authorization for the take of marine mammals incidental to operation of offshore oil and gas facilities in the U.S. Beaufort Sea, Alaska, for the period 2011–2016. Comment period through August 5, 2011.
  • 76 FR 30110, May 24, 2011. Notice of an application from Statoil USA E&P Inc. for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to a proposed open water shallow hazards survey in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska, between July through November 2011. Comment period through June 23, 2011.
  • 74 FR 55539, October 28, 2009. Notice of NMFS and Minerals Management Service's withdrawl of their intent to prepare a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on proposed geophysical exploration using seismic surveys in the waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. Effective October 28, 2009.
  • 74 FR 55368, October 27, 2009. Notice of issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Shell Offshore Inc. and Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. in the Chukchi Sea, Alaska. Effective August 19, 2009, through August 18, 2010.
  • 73 FR 46774, August 11, 2008. Notice of an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take marine mammals, by Level-B harassment, incidental to conducting open water shallow hazard and site clearance surveys by ASRC Energy Service in the Chukchi Sea.
  • 73 FR 45969, August 7, 2008. Notice that NMFS has issued an Incidental Harassment Authorization to PGS Onshore, Inc. to take, by harassment, small numbers of six species of marine mammals incidental to an exploratory 3D marine seismic survey in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska. Effective July 30, 2008, through July 29, 2009.
  • Federal district court decision to uphold NOAA's issuance of an incidental harassment authorization to Shell Offshore, Inc., July 2008
  • 73 FR 40512, July 15, 2008. Notice of issuance of an IHA to BP Exploration, Inc. to take, by harassment, small numbers of six species of marine mammals incidental to a 3D, ocean bottom cable (OBC) seismic survey in the Liberty Prospect, Beaufort Sea, Alaska during July and August, 2008. Effective July 8, 2008, through August 25, 2008.
  • 73 FR 38990, July 8, 2008. Notice of issuance of a letter of authorization to BP Exploration, Inc. to take marine mammals incidental to the production of offshore oil and gas at the Northstar development in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska. Effective from July 7, 2008, through July 6, 2009.
  • 73 FR 36044, June 25, 2008. Notice of receipt of an application from Shell Offshore, Inc. and its contractor WesternGeco for an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) to take small numbers of marine mammals, by harassment, incidental to conducting marine geophysical programs, including deep seismic surveys, on oil and gas lease blocks located on Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) waters in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. Comment period through July 25, 2008.
  • 73 FR 31816, June 4, 2008. Notice of receipt of application from Shell Offshore, Inc. for an Incidental Harassment Authorization to take small numbers of marine mammals, by harassment in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska. Comment period through July 7, 2008.
  • 73 FR 9535, February 21, 2008. Notification of Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHAs) to take marine mammals, by Level-B harassment, incidental to conducting on-ice marine geophysical research and seismic surveys by CGGVeritas (Veritas) and Shell Offshore, Inc. (SOI) in the U.S. Beaufort Sea.
  • Shell Offshore, Inc. Open Water Exploration and Appraisal Drilling Program (external link)
  • Beaufort Sea Seals (external link)


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