NMFS Proposes Draft National Procedure for Permit Applications To Retain Releasable Rehabilitated Marine Mammals for Public Display

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published for comment a draft national Procedural Directive clarifying the process for eligible permit applicants to obtain releasable marine mammals for public display purposes under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Releasable marine mammals are those that were successfully rehabilitated by the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program’s network of stranding centers and have been determined by the rehabilitation facility’s attending veterinarian to be candidates for return to the wild. NMFS will no longer grant permits for the specific purpose of retaining releasable marine mammals for public display. Instead, applicants will now need to apply for a permit to take (collect) animals from the wild pursuant to the MMPA. Non-releasable animals, on the other hand, may still be obtained through NMFS’ administrative procedures.

32nd Annual European Cetacean Society Conference

The 32nd annual European Cetacean Society conference will take place in La Spezia, Italy in April 2018. The theme of this years conference is: ‘Marine Conservation – Forging Effective Strategic Partnerships.’

Participants in the 2018 conference are encouraged to bring presentations that relate to this theme or otherwise consider how this issue affects their work, although as usual scientific submissions on all issues relating to marine mammals are welcome. Keynote speakers will help to elaborate the theme along with special focal sessions.

WORKSHOPS: Friday 6, Saturday 7 April 2018
CONFERENCE: Sunday 8 – Tuesday 10 April 2018

32nd Annual European Cetacean Society Conference

The 32nd annual European Cetacean Society conference will be taking place in La Spezia, Italy, on Friday, April 06, 2018 – Tuesday, April 10, 2018. The theme of this years conference is: ‘Marine Conservation – Forging Effective Strategic Partnerships.’

The achievement of effective marine conservation measures requires more than good science and the theme of the 2018 ECS conference is intended to help explore the role that partnerships with all other stakeholders have in this. Participants in the 2018 conference are encouraged to bring presentations that relate to this theme or otherwise consider how this issue affects their work, although as usual scientific submissions on all issues relating to marine mammals are welcome. Keynote speakers will help to elaborate the theme along with special focal sessions.

Paper on Noise Budgets

Conservation Letters on the management of cumulative underwater noise pollution published the following paper: Merchant, N.D., Faulkner, R.F., Martinez, R. (in press) Marine noise budgets in practice. Conservation Letters here.

This paper has the following abstract:

Pygmy Right Whale Mystery

Science News recently posted the following article:

“A new discovery is turning the hemispheric history of a mysterious whale species upside-down. Two fossils recently unearthed in Italy and Japan suggest that a southern whale was briefly a denizen of northern waters more than half a million years ago.

Until now, all available evidence suggested that the pygmy right whale, Caperea marginata, and its ancestors have been steadfast Southern Hemisphere residents for the past 10 million years.

CBD Petitions for ESA Listing for Culver Beaked Whales in GOM

On October 11, 2017, the center for Biological Diversity petitioned the federal government to list beaked whales in the Gulf of Mexico under the Endangered Species Act.  Click here for more information and relevant links.

NMFS Seeks Comment on IHA for Navy’s New London Submarine Base

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has received a request from the U.S. Navy for authorization to take, by harassment, marine mammals incidental to conducting pier construction at the Navy Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut, beginning October 2018 and ending March 2022. NMFS proposes to issue this authorization pursuant to the implementing regulations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. NMFS seeks public comments and information on this proposed action. Comments and information must be received by NMFS no later than November 1, 2017. Click here for more detail and relevant links.

OMB Reviewing Proposed Killer Whale Critical Habitat Rules

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget is reviewing proposed rules designating Critical Habitat for the Hawaiian Insular False Killer Whale Distinct Population Segment. The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service developed these proposed rules.  OMB is reviewing them under Executive Order 12866.  Click here for OMB’s website for this review.

Society for Marine Mammalogy – 2017: A Marine Mammal Odyssey, eh!

Society for Marine Mammalogy – 2017: A Marine Mammal Odyssey, eh!
Sunday, October 22, 2017 – Friday, October 27, 2017 CST

The 22nd Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals will be hosted in Halifax, Nova Scotia on October 22nd-27th 2017, with workshops to be held October 28th-29th. Registration and event signup are available here.

Study Claims Solar Storms Cause Whale Strandings

A new study claims that solar activity caused a mass sperm whale stranding in 2016 by disrupting earth’s magnetic field and disturbing whale navigation systems. Click here to read an article about this study.