Lawsuit Challenges NMFS’ Alleged Failure to Protect Pacific Humpback Whales Threatened by Fishing Gear, Ship Strikes, Oil Spills

The Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Foundation has sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to protect humpback whale habitat in the Pacific Ocean, where the animals face threats from fisheries, ship strikes and oil spills.

This lawsuit, which was filed in federal district court in San Francisco, aims to force NMFS to designate critical habitat within one year of listing a species as threatened or endangered and to not authorize actions that would damage that habitat. Two Pacific Ocean humpback populations were listed as endangered and a third as threatened in September 2016.

Comment to OMB on BOEM ICR Affecting Marine Mammals and Offshore Oil

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is proposing to renew an information collection with revisions. Interested persons are invited to submit comments to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on or before April 30, 2018.

BOEM summarized this ICR as follows:

Why Are Whales So Big ?

ScienceDaily recently posted an article that tries to answer this question.  The article begins as follows:

“Anyone who has witnessed majestic whales or lumbering elephant seals in person would be forgiven for associating ocean life with unlimited size in mammals, but new research reveals that mammal growth is actually more constrained in water than on land.

This finding by Stanford researchers is in contrast to previous theories suggesting that pressure on body size should be more relaxed in water, perhaps because of the large environment and ability for animals to float rather than have to support their body weight on legs.

Comment to OMB on Marine Mammal Tissue Bank ICR

The U.S. Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance them following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C.Chapter 35):

Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Title: Protocol for Access to Tissue Specimen Samples from the National Marine Mammal Tissue Bank.

OMB Control Number: 0648–0468.

Form Number(s): None.

Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection).

Number of Respondents: 25.

Average Hours per Response: Request for tissue sample, 2 hours; specimen submission form, 45 minutes.

Burden Hours: 85.

Eliminate the MMC?

President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 does not fund the U. S. Marine Mammal Commission. A recent blog in Scientific American protests the elimination of the MMC.  Click here for this article.

 

Commerce/NMFS Seek Comments on Whaling ICR

The Department of Commerce and its National Marine Fisheries Service ask for comment on a proposed Information Collection Request under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.This request is for extension of a current information collection.

Native Americans may conduct certain aboriginal subsistence whaling under the Whaling Convention Act in accordance with the provisions of the International Whaling Commission. In order to respond to obligations under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, the IWC, and the Whaling Convention Act, whaling captains participating in these operations must submit certain information to the relevant Native American whaling organization about strikes on and catch of whales. Anyone retrieving a dead whale is also required to report.

“The Ups and Downs of marine protected areas: examining the evidence”

Mongabay published the following article:

  • To find out if marine protected areas achieve their environmental and socioeconomic goals, we read 42 scientific studies and talked to seven experts.
  • Overall, marine protected areas do appear to help marine animals recover within their boundaries. But a lot more rigorous research is needed.
  • The effects of marine protected areas on socioeconomic outcomes and fisheries are less clear.
  • This is part of a special Mongabay series on ‘Conservation Effectiveness.’”

Click here to read entire article.

 

 

Lawsuit Alleges that Federal Government is Failing to Protect Right Whales from Destruction

A coalition of environmental groups filed the suit in US District Court in Washington, D.C., against officials from the Commerce Department and National Marine Fisheries Service.

The law suit claims that the federal government must do more to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales from getting tangled up in lobster gear, a leading cause of death for the rapidly declining mammals.

Click here for an article discussing this lawsuit.

 

NMFS Extends Comment Period for 5-Year Review for the Endangered Western Distinct Population Segment of Steller Sea Lion

The U.S.  National Marine Fisheries Service has extended the comment period on NMFS’ notice of initiation of a 5-year review of the Western Distinct Population Segment of Steller sea lion (Eumetopiasjubatus) under the Endangered Species Act , and NMFS’ request for information relevant to that review. Comments related to NMFS’ 5-year review of the western DPS of Steller sea lion must be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal or received at the appropriate address by April 6, 2018. However, NMFS will continue to accept new information about Steller sea lions at any time.

Click here for more detail and relevant links.

Abstract Submission Deadline Extended To February 12st 2016 For The 13th Danish Marine Mammal Symposium

The Danish Marine Mammal Symposium is an annual event convened by the Danish Marine Mammal Society. Marine mammal research inDenmark exhibits growing activity and great diversity with groups working within disciplinessuch as behaviour, acoustics, communication, morphology, population biology, ecology,genetics, evolution, systematics and nomenclature. As such, the symposium comprises anideal setting for learning more about marine mammal research, meeting researchers,educators, students and managers, and getting inspiration and contacts for e.g. thesisprojects. The symposium will be held in English for a broader outreach in general and in particular toembrace the increasing number of international students and researchers in Denmark.