Agency plans workshops on harbor seal protections

Apr 11, 2013 -- 9:30am


- ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The National Marine Fisheries Service is planning workshops in Juneau and Yakutat on April 22 and 23 to take comment on whether cruise ships or other vessels in glacial fjords disturb harbor seals. Harbor seals are an important subsistence game animal for Yakutat, a community of 622 located 225 miles northwest of Juneau at the top of the Alaska Panhandle. Yakutat seal hunters for more than a decade have said numbers of the animals are declining. NMFS is considering management measures to protect harbor seals from vessel disturbance. Specific measures have not been proposed. The agency says the rapid rise in tour vessel traffic may alter natural behavior of seals during breeding and molting. Rules could affect visits to Hubbard Glacier, the longest tidewater glacier in North America.


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