The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Proposes Listing the Ringed Seal

December 13th, 2010

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the body that governs Endangered Species Act protection for marine species, has proposed listing the ringed seal as threatened, due to loss of sea ice and snow cover associated with global climate change.

This could re-open the question of Bush’s “Polar Bear Rule.” Polar bears were the first species to be specifically listed due to climate change, but the Bush Administration created a special rule preventing the Endangered Species Act from regulating greenhouse gas emissions in response to the listing. Ringed seals are the main staple of the polar bear’s diet, and the ONLY seal that can survive under sea ice—in fact, the ringed seal NEEDS sea ice and snow cover to birth their pups, and for the survival of the species. The public comment period for the proposed ringed seal listing is open through 2/10/11.

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