Ringed, Ribbon, Spotted, and Bearded Ice Seals

Proposed Critical Habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal under the Endangered Species Act

  • Notice that NMFS has extended the comment period for a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the threatened Arctic subspecies of the ringed seal from March 9, 2015, to March 31, 2015.
    • News Release: NOAA Fisheries extends comment period on proposed Arctic ringed seal critical habitat.
  • Notice of public hearings in Alaska, one each in Nome, Anchorage, Kotzebue, and Barrow, on the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the threatened Arctic subspecies of the ringed seal. Comment period through March 9, 2015.
  • Corrected Proposed Rule to designate critical habitat for the Arctic subspecies of ringed seal. NOAA Fisheries is withdrawing the proposed rule (79 FR 71714) that was published on December 3, 2014, which was a draft version that was published inadvertently, and is issuing a new proposed rule (79 FR 73010) with a new 90-day comment period. Comment period through March 9, 2015.
    • Proposed Rule for designation of critical habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Comment period through March 3, 2015. (WITHDRAWN)
    • News Release: NMFS proposes arctic ringed seal critical habitat, seeks public comments
  • References Cited: Endangered and Threatened Species; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal; Proposed Rule
  • Draft Economic Analysis Report: Draft RIR/4(b)(2) Preparatory Assessment/IRFA of Critical Habitat for the Arctic Ringed Seal, September 2014
  • Map of proposed critical habitat
  • Questions and Answers

Endangered Species Act Listings

The Beringia Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the bearded seal and the Arctic subspecies of the ringed seal were listed as threatened on December 28, 2012. The listing of Beringia DPS bearded seals was vacated in July 2014 due to litigation and was reinstated in May 2017. The listing of Arctic ringed seals was vacated in March 2016 due to litigation and was reinstated in May 2018. All bearded seals in Alaska are part of the threatened Beringia DPS, and all ringed seals in Alaska are part of the threatened Arctic subspecies.

  • News Release: NOAA lists ringed and bearded ice seal populations, including those found in U.S. water off the coast of Alaska (threatened Arctic ringed seals and Beringia DPS bearded seals), under the Endangered Species Act, 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 rule-making. 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 rule-making. 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.

Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations

  • Biological Opinion for the Issuance of an Incidental Harassment Authorization to Shell Gulf of Mexico and Shell Offshore Inc for Aviation Operations Associated with Ice Condition Monitoring over the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, May 2015
  • Endangered Species Act Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion: Alaska Groundfish Fisheries as Authorized by the FMP for Groundfish of the BSAI and the State of Alaska Parallel Groundfish Fisheries, December 2014

Subsistence

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, December 2011

Status Review

  • 75 FR 77476, December 10, 2010. Notice of completion of a comprehensive status review of the ringed seal under the Endangered Species Act and an announcement of a 12-month finding on a petition to list the ringed seal. Proposed rule to list the Arctic, Okhotsk, Baltic, and Ladoga subspecies as a threatened species. Comment period extended through March 25, 2011.
  • 75 FR 77496, December 10, 2010. Notice of completion of a comprehensive status review of the bearded seal under the Endangered Species Act and an announcement of a 12-month finding on a petition to list the bearded seal. Proposed rule to list the Beringia and the Okhotsk bearded seals as threatened species. Comment period extended through March 25, 2011.
  • News Release: Proposes Listing Ringed and Bearded Seals as Threatened Under Endangered Species Act, December 3, 2010

Petition

Ribbon seal. Photo: Mike Cameron, NOAA's NMML

Endangered Species Act (ESA) Status Review

  • News Release: NOAA: Endangered Species Act listing not warranted for ribbon seals - Ribbon seals remain on list of species of concern July 2013
  • 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, December 2011
  • Frequently Asked Questions (8.5x11) and larger format (11x17) December 2014

Previous ESA Listing-Related Actions

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

Final ESA Listing

  • 75 FR 65239, October 22, 2010. Final rule to list the southern distinct population segment of the spotted seal, which occurs outside U.S. waters in the Yellow Sea and Sea of Japan, as a threatened species. Effective November 22, 2010.
  • Status Review of the Spotted Seal (Phoca largha), P. L. Boveng, et al., NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-200, October 2009
  • News Release: NOAA Lists Population of Spotted Seals as Threatened, October 2010

Previous ESA Listing-Related Actions

Disease Outbreak in Northern Alaska

A diseased seal with lesions and hair loss. Photos: B. Sinnok

Disease Fact Sheets

Disease Outbreak Fliers

A diseased seal with lesions and hair loss. Photos: B. Sinnok

News Releases

  • March 7, 2012. Seal captured near Yakutat found to have hair loss and skin sore disease
  • December 20, 2011. Deaths of ringed seals in Alaska declared an unusual mortality event; walrus pending
  • November 1, 2011. Public Service Announcement on Arctic Seal Disease
  • October 13, 2011. NOAA Scientists seeking answers in skin lesion disease outbreak in ringed seals

 

 

 

Co-Management

Development in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas