The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has issue a final rule designating the Sakhalin Bay-Nikolaya Bay-Amur River Stock of beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) as a depleted stock of marine mammals pursuant to the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. This action is being taken as a result of a status review conducted by NMFS in response to a petition to designate a group of beluga whales in the western Sea of Okhotsk as a depleted stock. The biological evidence indicates that the group is a population stock as defined by the MMPA, and the stock is depleted as defined by the MMPA.
Copies of supporting documents, including the status review, the proposed rule, and a list of references cited in the final rule, are available via the Federal e-rulemaking Portal, at www.regulations.gov (search for Docket ID NOAA-NMFS-2015-0154), or by clicking here. Those documents are also available from NMFS at the following address: Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226.