NMFS Seeks Comment on Comprehensive Review of Humpback Whale Listings Under the ESA

The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service seeks comment on NMFS’s comprehensive status review of the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) under the Endangered Species Act. As a result of its review, NMFS proposes to divide the globally listed endangered species into 14 distinct population segments, remove the current species-level listing, and in its place list 2 DPSs as endangered and 2 DPSs as threatened. The remaining 10 DPSs are not proposed for listing based on their current statuses.

This proposal also constitutes a negative 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and ‘‘delist’’ a DPS of humpback whales spanning the entire North Pacific and a positive 12-month finding on a petition to delineate and ‘‘delist’’ a DPS in the Central North Pacific (Hawaii breeding population).

At this time, NMFS does not propose to designate critical habitat for the two listed DPSs that occur in U.S. waters (Western North Pacific, Central America) because it is not currently determinable. In order to complete the critical habitat designation process, NMFS solicits information on essential physical and biological features of the habitat of these two DPSs.

NMFS must receive any comments by July 20, 2015.

Click here to read Federal Register notice of this proposed action.

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