Seattle hearing on Steller fish restrictions in AK

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The U.S. House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing in Seattle Monday on the fishing restrictions federal regulators say are necessary to help Steller sea lions survive in western Alaska waters.

The committee headed by Washington Congressman Doc Hasting and including Alaska Congressman Don Young heard from state and federal officials, marine mammal researchers and fishing industry representatives.

Hastings said he hopes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration takes another look at research that led the National Marine Fisheries Service to impose more fishing restrictions in January at an estimated loss to the fishing industry of at least $44 million a year and 250 jobs.

Young said the Fisheries Service is making regulations with limited information, out of a fear of environmental lawsuits.