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.

Stock Assessment Report for the Northern Sea Otter in Washington

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requests public comment on a draft revised marine mammal stock assessment report for the northern sea otter stock in the State of Washington. NMFS will accept comment that are received or postmarked on or before April 17, 2017.  Click here for more details and relevant links.



MMC Receives Grant to Review Co-management of Marine Mammals in Alaska

The U.S.Marine Mammal Commission received a grant award from the North Pacific Research Board to identify essential components and key impediments to effective co-management of marine mammals in Alaska. The overall goal of this project is to strengthen relationships and support co-management to improve the conservation of marine mammals in a region where they provide food security for Alaska Natives and are also of critical ecological, social, and economic importance. Click here for more detail and relevant links.



Whale Strandings

Cosmos magazine posted an article entitled “Why do whales strand themselves?”  This article explained that strandings have occurred for as long as man can remember, and opined that there might not be pone specific cause.  The article makes a plea for “empiricism, to think these things through carefully,…. We need to look at things with proper, evidence-based science.” Click here to read the entire article.




Whale-Watching Industry Growing

The News Tribune posted the following article:

“Whale-watching industry is growing despite distance restrictions, according to study


Seattle Times


Restrictions on vessel traffic have helped keep more boaters farther from critically endangered southern-resident killer whales, while not harming the whale-watch industry, a new study has found.

Federal restrictions enacted in 2011 require whale-watch boats and other vessels to stay at least 200 yards away from orca whales. That’s a long way — two football-field lengths — and doubled the buffer. Yet whale-watch tourism continues to grow, the technical memorandum from NOAA found.

NMFS Seeks Comment on Revised Stock Assessment Reports

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published its review of the Alaska, Atlantic, and Pacific regional marine mammal stock assessment reports as required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NMFS solicits public comments on the draft 2017 SARs. Comments must be received by NMFS by March 19, 2018.  Click here for more details and relevant links.

NMFS Initiates 5-year Review of Stellar Sea Lion Population

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published its intent to conduct a 5-year review for the endangered western distinct population segment of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) under the Endangered Species. NMFS is required by the ESA to conduct 5-year reviews to ensure that the listing classifications of species are accurate.

The 5-year review must be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. NMFS requests submission of any such information on the Western DPS of Steller sea lion, particularly information on the status, threats, and recovery of the species that has become available since the final listing determination in May, 1997.

MMC Requests Funding Proposals

The Marine Mammal Commission Published the following notice:

“The U.S. Marine Mammal Commission is requesting pre-proposals for our current Fiscal Year 2018 funding opportunity.  The focal area for this year is “Community-driven conservation approaches to eliminate, manage, or mitigate threats to marine mammals”.

Marine mammals continue to face an array of threats ranging from fisheries, noise, and vessel traffic to environmental change. Conservation action is needed to eliminate, manage, or mitigate these threats.  Successful conservation programs require not only an understanding of species and ecosystems, but also of the needs, values, perceptions, and cultures of the relevant human communities. Individuals need to become engaged, informed, and inspired to work toward altering human behavior. The Commission believes that increased awareness of examples of successful innovative, community-driven approaches to conservation will help.