National Marine Fisheries Service Finally Designates Critical Habitat for Imperiled Seals

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced a critical habitat designation in the Bering, Chuchki, and Beaufort seas for the Arctic subspecies of the ringed seal and the Beringia distinct population segment of Pacific bearded seals, which have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 2012. The designations are effective May 1, 2022, and are the result of a lawsuit filed by Center for Biological Diversity in 2019 which challenged the agency’s failure to designate critical habitat for imperiled ice seals.