Distribution and Abundance of Steller Sea Lions, Eumetopias jubatus, on the Asian Coast, 1720's-2005

Burkanov, Vladimir N. and Loughlin, Thomas R. (2005) Distribution and Abundance of Steller Sea Lions, Eumetopias jubatus, on the Asian Coast, 1720's-2005. Marine Fisheries Review, 67(2), pp. 1-62.

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We analyzed published and archived records for the past 250 years to assess changes in distribution and abundance of Steller sea lions, Eumetopias jubatus, along the Asian coast from the Bering Strait to the Korean Peninsula. We found that the northern extent of Steller sea lion distribution has not changed but that the southern limit has moved north by some 500–900 km (~300–500 n.mi.) over the past 50 years. Additionally, the number of animals and their distribution has changed on the Commander Islands, Kuril Islands, and Kamchatka Peninsula. We found no changes in the number of rookeries in the northern Sea of Okhotsk, but a new rookery was established at Tuleny Island on the eastern coast of Sakhalin Island. We estimate that the total abundance of Steller sea lions along the Asian coast in the late 19th century was about 115,000 animals; during the 1960’s, the total estimate was about 27,000 (including pups), most of which were in the Kuril Islands. The fewest number of Steller sea lions occurred in the northwestern Pacific in the late 1980’s–early 1990’s when only about 13,000 individuals (including pups) were estimated in the entire region. During the 1990’s, and especially in early 2000, an increasing trend in abundance occurred in most areas. Present estimated abundance of Steller sea lions in Asia is about 16,000 individuals (including about 5,000 pups), about half of which occur in the Kuril Islands. Changes in abundance occurred during all time periods but varied by site and period. Specifically, over the past 150 years Steller sea lion abundance at most sites has changed. There were no rookeries on the Commander Islands between 1850 and 1960 and abundance was low, but by 1977, abundance increased to 4,800 individuals and a rookery was established in the mid 1980’s; abundance there has declined since the early 1980’s and in 2004 only 895 individuals (including 221 pups) were counted during the breeding season. Between 1940 and 2004, abundance along the eastern coast of Kamchatka declined from ~7,000 to ~600 individuals, an overall reduction of 90%. Steller sea lion abundance on the Kuril Islands declined by >90% from the 1800’s to 2005; the most severe decline there occurred during 1969–1981. Steller sea lion numbers in the northern part of the Sea of Okhotsk declined during 1930–2002 from 7,200 to 3,100 individuals. Numbers at Tuleny Island have increased since establishment of a rookery there during 1983–2005 and by immigration from other sites.

Item Type: Article
Title: Distribution and Abundance of Steller Sea Lions, Eumetopias jubatus, on the Asian Coast, 1720's-2005
Personal Creator/Author:
Burkanov, Vladimir N.
Loughlin, Thomas R.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Fisheries Review
Volume: 67
Number: 2
Page Range: pp. 1-62
Date: 2005
ISSN: 0090-1830
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Biology
Item ID: 9715
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2012 16:53
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 16:53
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/9715

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