NMFS’ Recovery Plan for Cook Inlet Beluga Whale

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has announced the adoption and availability of an Endangered Species Act Recovery Plan for the Cook Inlet beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) distinct population segment (DPS) found in Cook Inlet, AK. The Recovery Plan is available on the NMFS Alaska Region website here.

IAGC Article on Proposed Bryde’s Whale Listing

The International Association of Geophysical Contractors posted the following article about NOAA/NMFS’ proposed listing of the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale as endangered under the Endangered Species Act:

“Rare Gulf of Mexico whale could be listed as endangered
A Bryde’s whale in the Gulf of Mexico NOAA Fisheries

BY HANNAH MORSE
hemorse@bradenton.com

A year-round resident of Gulf of Mexico waters may be listed as threatened or endangered early next year pending public comment and review after a 12-month study of the whale was published by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

NMFS Corrects Comment Deadline for Bryde’s Whale ESA Listing

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service published in the December 8, 2016, Federal Register a document proposing to list the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. On December 19, 2016, NMFS published a Federal Register notice that corrects an error in NMFS’ December 8th notice. The correct deadline for comments on NMFS’ proposed listing of the Bryde’s whale is February 6, 2017. Click here for NMFS’ Federal Register notice correcting the comment deadline.

Good News About Humpback Whales

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has published an article discussing the increasing numbers of Humpback whales off the coast of New York and New Jersey. NMFS believes that this increase is due to NMFS’ actions that  “modified and reduced the number of entangling fishing lines in northeast U.S. waters, shifted shipping lanes, implemented vessels speed restrictions, and protected habitats for whales and the fish they eat. Thanks in part to these conservation efforts, the humpback whale population in Northeast U.S. waters has successfully rebounded, and we removed them from the list of endangered species in September 2016.”

ECS Conference

Danish Marine Mammal Society and Aarhus University is holding the 31st Annual Conference of the European Cetacean Society at Hindsgavl Castle, Middelfart, Denmark The Main conference will be on 1-3 May, 2017. Workshops will take place on 29-30 April, 2017.

This year’s theme is: CONSERVATION IN THE LIGHT OF MARINE SPATIAL USE.

Invited Keynote Speakers are Professor Lars Bejder, Murdoch University, Cetacean Research Unit, Australia; Dr. Asha De Vos, Post-doctoral scholar, University of California, Santa Cruz; Dr. Len Thomas, University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

IMPORTANT DATES:
Abstract and workshop submission deadline: 13 January 2017 (23:45 CET)
Early registration deadline: 15 March 2017 (23:45 CET)
Video abstract submission deadline: 1 March 2017 (23:45 CET)
Late registration deadline: 1 April 2017 (23.45 CET)

45th EAAM Symposium

First, on March 8-11, 2017, Acquario di Genova will host the 45th Symposium of the European Association for Aquatic Mammals. Professional experts, curators, veterinarians, trainers, researchers from all over Europe will get together to share experiences, protocols and research activities concerning the management and protection of aquatic mammals.

The Key note speakers are Diana Reiss, Vincent Jannik and Sandro Mazzariol.

Click here or here for more details.

NMFS Decides Not to List Eastern North Pacific Harbor Seals

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service has completed its review of the status of eastern North Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) in Iliamna Lake, Alaska. NMFS’ review was in response to a petition to list these seals as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Based on the best scientific and commercial information available, we conclude that the seals in Iliamna Lake do not constitute a species, subspecies, or distinct population segment under the ESA. As a result, NMFS has concluded that listing the harbor seals in Iliamna Lake, Alaska is not warranted.

Click here for more details about this NMFS action.

Canada Establishes New Marine Protected Area

The Darnley Bay area of the Beaufort Sea near Paulatuk, N.W.T., has been set aside to protect important habitat for several Arctic marine species.

The new Anguniaqvia Niqiqyuam Marine Protected Area covers about 2,400 square kilometres. The protected area status will prohibit activities within the area “that could disturb, damage, or destroy these living organisms.”

“It’s a general prohibition so it prohibits any activities that will impact marine organisms or habitat in the area,” said Cal Wenghofer with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Click here for an article with more detail on this action.

FWS Seeks Comment on Polar Bear Management

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is authorized to issue regulations to facilitate the implementation of the sustainable harvest management obligations under the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Russian Federation on the Conservation and Management of the Alaska-Chukotka Polar Bear Population. To that end, FWS is soliciting public comment on the development of a regulatory program and local management structures for carrying out the responsibilities under the U.S.- Russia Agreement and title V of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.

NOAA and OMB Seek Comment on ICR for Papaha¯naumokua¯kea Marine National Monument

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has asked the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to aprove NOAA’s current Information Collection request for the Papaha¯naumokua¯kea Marine National Monument Permit Application and Reports for Permits. This request is for revision and extension of a currently approved information collection. There will be minor changes to the forms and instructions.

On June 15, 2006, President Bush established the Papaha¯naumokua¯kea Marine National Monument by issuing Presidential Proclamation 8031 (71 FR 36443, June 26, 2006) under the authority of the Antiquities Act (16 U.S.C. 431). The proclamation includes restrictions and prohibitions regarding activities in the monument consistent with the authority provided by the act.