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Soundings Archive

NMFS Issues Permit for Hawaiian-Fishing Take of Endangered Humpback Whales
On May 28, 2010, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service issued a permit authorizing the incidental, but not intentional, taking of individuals of the Central North Pacific stock of endangered humpback whales by the Hawaii-based longline fisheries (deep-set and shallow-set).

This permit is issued under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is effective for a 3-year period beginning May 28, 2010. It is based on NMFS' determinations that

  • mortality and serious injury of humpback whales incidental to commercial fishing will have a negligible impact on the CNP stock of humpback whales;

  • a recovery plan has been developed;

  • a monitoring program is established;

  • vessels in the fisheries are registered; and

  • the MMPA does not require a take reduction plan at this time.
Four organizations commented on NMFS' proposed issuance of the permit: the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; the Marine Mammal Commission; the Hawaii Longline Association; and the Human Society of the United States. The Human society opposed issuance of the permit, claiming among other things that NMFS has underestimated the adverse impact on humpbacks. The other three commenters generally supported issuance of the permit.
  • Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice of the permit

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