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Press Release

Court Overturns Listing of the Ringed Seal

March 11, 2016

(Anchorage, Alaska) – Today, the court followed the decision to vacate the listing of the bearded seal with the overturning of the listing of the Arctic subspecies of the ringed seal. On July 25, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska overturned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) 2012 listing of the Beringia population of bearded seals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Arctic ringed seals can be found within Alaska and other U.S. lands and waters.

“We are pleased that the court has yet again overturned a speculative ESA listing by agreeing that the listing was not justified,” said Assistant Attorney General Brad Meyen. “The listing was based on 100-year projections lacking credible scientific evidence that the seals are actually at risk within a few generations—numbering now in the millions.”

In order to list a species under the Endangered Species Act, NMFS must show a connection between the scientific data and the decision to list. NMFS admitted that ringed seals are very numerous but listed them anyway. Alaska and others sought to overturn the threatened listing on the grounds that the decision lacked the necessary scientific evidence to support the decision. 

“We have long maintained that listing of the ringed seal was not warranted.” Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten said. “The animals are healthy and show no evidence of decline.”

For more information on the case, contact Assistant Attorney General Brad Meyen at 907-269-5100. For more information on any of the scientific information, please contact Bruce Dale Division of Wildlife Conservation at 907-267-2339.

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