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NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today announced a grant of more than $2.4 million to the North Pacific Marine Science Foundation of Seattle, Wash., to study the decline of Steller sea lions. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

This grant will fund studies to:
• Improve population trend estimates.
• Assess the impacts of climate change.
• Run dietary analysis and brand re-sights.
• Perform monthly assessments of population numbers.
• Observe seasonal activity patterns.
• Assess the impact of human disturbance.
• Develop capture techniques.
• Develop a method validation study.
• Expand bio-energetic and nutritional studies.
• Validate quantitative fatty acid analysis.
• Prepare a noninvasive fecal health panel.
• Develop a weighted split-sample frequency of occurrence index.

“We are constantly working to improve the understanding of our environment and to strengthen research initiatives like the North Pacific Marine Science Foundation’s work with Steller sea lions,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “This grant will help us better understand the complexities behind the decline of Steller sea lions so NOAA can better manage their recovery, while at the same time provide for sustainable and economically viable fisheries. The grant reinforces the commitment of NOAA and the Bush Administration to the environment.”

Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) live in the North Pacific Ocean and consist of two distinct populations separated at 144° W longitude (near Cape Suckling, just east of Prince William Sound, Alaska). NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service listed the Steller sea lion as threatened rangewide under the Endangered Species Act in April 1990. The decline has continued for the western population in Alaska, which was declared endangered in 1997. The eastern population remains listed as threatened. For more information, visit

The North Pacific Marine Science Foundation is dedicated to fostering a better understanding of the interaction between marine life and fisheries. The foundation is committed to ensuring that policy makers have the best scientific information possible when making decisions that affect both the marine ecosystem and the communities that rely on that ecosystem.

In fiscal year 2003, NOAA has awarded more than 475 grants totaling more than $204 million to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth’s natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. NOAA goals and programs reflect a commitment to these basic responsibilities of science and service to the nation for the past 33 years.

The Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit

On the Web:


NOAA Administrator, Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D.:

Steller Sea Lion Overview: