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.

2018 IAGC Annual Conference

The 2018 International Association of Geophysical Contractors Conference will occur Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at WesternGeco Schlumberger, 10001 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX 77042. Click here for more information.

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