The National Marine Fisheries Service will conduct three public hearings on its proposal to list ringed and bearded seals as threatened species. The federal agency will collect testimony from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Egan Center in Anchorage. It plans a hearing from 7 to 9:30 p.m. March 22 at the Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow, with telephone access to other North Slope communities.
A third hearing will be scheduled for Nome, but no date has been set.
NMFS in December proposed listing ringed seals, the main prey of polar bears, and bearded seals because of the projected loss of ice from climate warming. For ringed seals, the proposed listing also cites the threat of reduced snow cover.
Both species use sea ice for giving birth.