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Soundings Archive

NMFS Grants NRDC's Petition to List Killer Whales as Endangered under the ESA
On January 5, 2010, the U.S National Marine Fisheries Service published its 90-day finding on a petition to list the insular population of Hawaiian false killer whales as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. NMFS agrees with the petition, and has begun a review to determine whether ESA listing is appropriate for Hawaiian false killer whales. In order to carry out a comprehensive review, NMFS asks for scientific and commercial information regarding this species.

Comments must be received by NMFS no later than February 4, 2010.

The Natural Resources Defense Council submitted the listing petition in October 2009. NMFS divides Hawaiian false killer whales into a Hawaii Pelagic Stock and a Hawaii Insular Stock. NRDC considers the insular population of Hawaiian false killer whales and the Hawaii Insular Stock of false killer whales to be synonymous. NRDC's ESA listing petition claims that

    " the insular population of Hawaiian false killer whales faces the following threats: (1) mortality and/or serious injury from fishing gear; (2) overfishing and prey reductions; (3) potential for increased levels of toxic chemicals; (4) ocean acidification; (5) potential for acoustic impacts on false killer whale behavior; (6) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; (7) risks inherent to small populations; and (8) synergistic and cumulative effects. The petition contends that the small population size, evidence of a declining population trend, and multiple threats together qualify the insular population of Hawaiian false killer whales to be listed as an endangered species under the ESA."
  • Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice on killer whale ESA listing

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