It has been nearly 19 years since the last time the NOAA removed an animal from their long list of threatened marine life. However, last week it was announced that the Eastern Steller sea lion would be taken off the list due to a long term population increase. The NOAA is very excited that the trend has remained consistent and healthy due to government laws and regulations in favor of protecting the species from fishermen and those who kill for sport. While Eastern sea lions are being removed from the list, they are still going to be heavily protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Also, the NOAA has set up a five year monitoring plan to ensure sea lions can maintain their population after people learn that they are no longer considered endangered. They would like to see very little change in the population trends and conclude that sea lions are indeed out of danger when left on their own.
As for the Western sea lions, found in Cape Suckling, Alaska, and Russian waters, they are still on the endangered list as there are fewer laws prohibiting the killing of sea lions. The NOAA will take advantage of having more time to focus on these areas where the sea lions are still threatened and try to make the same positive change happen in the future for the Western Steller sea lion. While there is still much that needs to be done to protect precious marine life, it is comforting to hear that there has been progress made when it comes to removing larger species of the planet from the endangered list.
For more on the story please visit Huffington Green at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/24/steller-sea-lions-noaa-threatened-list_n_4152496.html