Big news on Steller sea lions

A line in the North Pacific divides the Steller sea lion population into eastern and western "distinct population segments."

This just in from the National Marine Fisheries Service:

April 18, 2012

NOAA proposes removing eastern Steller sea lions from endangered species list; agency seeks public comment

JUNEAU — NOAA is proposing to remove the eastern Steller sea lion, currently deemed "threatened," from the list of endangered wildlife, after a status review by its biologists found the species is recovering sufficiently.

"This proposal reflects the continued recovery of the eastern population of Steller sea lions and the strong conservation partnership among NOAA Fisheries, the states, the fishing industry, and other stakeholders," said NOAA's Fisheries Service Alaska Regional Administrator Jim Balsiger.

More here.