Government Seeks Delay on Seal Status Decision

The federal government is seeking a six-month delay for deciding whether two seals that depend on sea ice should be listed as a threatened species because of climate warming.

The fisheries section of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also will review the status of ribbon seals, a species rejected for listing in December 2008.

All three seals use sea ice to give birth.

NOAA Fisheries a year ago proposed listing ringed seals found in the Arctic Basin and the North Atlantic and two populations of bearded seals in the Pacific Ocean. A final decision was due Saturday.

NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Julie Speegle said Monday that the agency has proposed delaying the decision until June 10.

She says there’s disagreement over analysis of model projections of future sea ice habitat.

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