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NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-97

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Alaska marine mammal stock assessments

Preface

The National Marine Mammal Laboratory is responsible for completing the stock assessment reports for the 33 stocks of marine mammals under NMFS’s jurisdiction recognized to inhabit Alaska waters. The stock assessment reports for 15 of those stocks were revised during 1998. The revised stock assessments include all the strategic stocks (western U.S. Steller sea lions, eastern U.S. Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, Cook Inlet beluga whales, sperm whales, western North Pacific humpback whales, central North Pacific humpback whales, fin whales, right whales, and bowhead whales), plus harbor seals (Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and southeast Alaska stocks), and killer whales (eastern North Pacific transient and Northern resident stocks). For completeness, this document contains the stock assessment for all 33 stocks, including those stocks for which the reports were not revised in 1998.

Fishery mortality sections in the revised reports have been updated to include observer program, fisher self-reporting, and stranding data through 1996, where possible. Similarly, subsistence harvest information through 1996 has been included for those stocks which are taken by Alaska Natives for subsistence purposes. New abundance estimates are available and have been included in the revised assessments for nine stocks (including western U.S. Steller sea lions, eastern U.S. Steller sea lions, northern fur seals, Cook Inlet beluga whales, western North Pacific humpback whales, central North Pacific humpback whales, Gulf of Alaska harbor seals, and both killer whale stocks). New Potential Biological Removal (PBR) estimates have been calculated for sall stocks having new abundance estimates. The new PBRs did not change the status of any stock. Finally, habitat concerns have been addressed for all strategic stocks.


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