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NMFS Continuing Humpback Whale Status Review and Soliciting Public Comments in Response to State of Alaska’s Delisting Petition

On June 26, 2014, NMFS published a 90-day finding responding to a petition from the State of Alaska to delist the Central North Pacific (CNP) humpback whales. The State of Alaska petition was submitted to NMFS in February of this year. Alaska’s petition is slightly different from the petition from the Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition (HFACT), which asked for the delisting of the entire North Pacific (NP) population of humpback whales. The CNP population is a segment of the greater NP population that spends their winter breeding season in waters off Hawaii and forage primarily off Alaska and northern British Columbia during the summer foraging season.

Consistent with their 90-day finding in response to the HFACT petition, NMFS found a “positive” 90-day finding on the State of Alaska petition, meaning that they will conduct a full review to determine whether the petitioned action is warranted. NMFS had previously initiated a status review in 2009 but its completion is still pending. NMFS is continuing their status review to determine whether the HFACT and State of Alaska petitions are warranted. To ensure the status review is comprehensive, NMFS is soliciting scientific and commercial information until July 28, 2014.

To read the Federal Register notice or to submit comments, click here.