The Decline of the Steller Sea Lion in Alaskan Waters: Untangling Food Webs and Fishing Nets (January 2003)Report in Brief
The Alaskan population of Steller sea lions has declined more than 80 percent in the last 30 years. Large-scale fishing effects on the food supply of Alaska's Steller sea lions do not appear to be the main reason for their current, continuing decline. This report concluded that a combination of other possible factors, including entanglement or injury by fishing gear, illegal shooting, predation by killer whales, subsistence harvesting, and disease, may be causing the decline. Establishing a series of carefully monitored open and closed fishing areas is the best way to measure fishing's impact on sea lion survival.