Stellar Sea Lion Research Paper

722 Words3 Pages
Kayla Norris
Biol 105
Dr. Jessy Robbins

Critical Thinking: Why the Stellar Sea Lion is Declining

The population of the Western stock of Stellar sea lions has been rapidly depleted, according to the Alaskan Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (Alaska Fisheries Science Center of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory: Marine Mammal Species, 1994). These sea lions have decreased by 85-90% since 1970 (Donnelly, 2003), from over 250,000 to less than 50,000 (Trites & Larkin, 1996) . Although the Eastern Stock is slowly on the rise, up to about 15,000, this is not enough to make a significant impact compared to the devastating loss of the Western stock (Trites & Larkin. 1996).
The sudden plummet of the sea lions is problematic
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The overpopulation of Pollock is creating an environment with no sustainable food source for the sea lions. Commercial fishing would also provide an opportunity to fish in a way that is co-beneficial to the environment, rather than carelessly overfishing. In order for this plan to be successful, close numbers of Pollock, herring, and Western stock sea lions will have to be observed and recorded. If immediate action is taken, the sea lion population could rebound within a few generations.
The stakeholders in this issue are environmental groups, such as Greenpeace, who firstly advocated for the ban on commercially fishing Pollock in Alaska, as well as the Federal government, who passed the legislature. Their actions have directly led to the endangerment of the Western stock stellar sea lion. Fortunately, they are also the precise people who can remedy the situation.
Should my plan of action, the reintroduction of commercial fishing of Western stock Pollock, be effective, the stellar sea lions could achieve their carrying capacity once more. The herring population would grow exponentially, which in turn would cause a major growth in sea lion population. The population boom of the Pollock needs to be halted so that the Alaskan waters can support its other

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