NMFS published a 90-day finding responding to a petition to delist the North Pacific humpback whales and announced the initiation of a status review. The petition was submitted in April 2013 by the Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT) and asks for the identification of North Pacific humpback whales as a distinct population segment (DPS) and a delisting of that DPS under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The 90-day finding is the first step in the petition response process and NMFS will now conduct a full status review to determine delisting is warranted by April 2014.
To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, NMFS has opened a public comment period to solicit information pertaining to the North Pacific humpback whale population. NMFS is requesting any scientific and commercial information on: (1) Historical and current population status and trends; (2) historical and current distribution; (3) migratory movements and behavior; (4) genetic population structure, as compared to other populations; (5) current or planned activities that may adversely impact humpback whales; and (6) ongoing efforts to conserve humpback whales. Comments are due to NMFS on October 28, 2013.
To read the Federal Register notice or to submit comments, click here.