Steller Sea Lion (west of 144º)
In compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) must designate critical habitat for each species under its jurisdiction listed under the ESA. Critical habitat is defined as “specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing, if they contain physical or biological features essential to conservations, and those features may require special management considerations for protection” and “specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species if the agency determines that the area itself is essential for conservation.”
The critical habitat of Steller sea lions includes a 20 nautical mile buffer around all major haul-out and rookeries with their associated terrestrial, air, and aquatic zones. It also includes three large offshore foraging areas near Shelikof Strait, Bogoslof, and Seguam Pass.