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.