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Soundings Archive

NMFS Publishes Favorable Finding on Petition to Delist the Southern Resident Killer Whale
The National Marine Fisheries Service has published a Federal Register notice announcing NMFS' 90-day finding on a petition to delist the Southern Resident killer whale Distinct Population Segment under the Endangered Species Act. The Southern Resident killer whale DPS was listed as endangered under the ESA in 2005. NMFS has found that the delisting petition presents substantial scientific information indicating that delisting may be warranted. NMFS is, therefore, initiating a status review of Southern Resident killer whales to determine whether the petitioned action is warranted and to examine the application of the DPS policy. NMFS also solicits scientific and commercial information pertaining to this species. Scientific and commercial information pertinent to delisting and DPS review must be received by NMFS by January 28, 2013.

NMFS' proposed delisting responds to an August 2, 2012, petition submitted by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the Center for Environmental Science Accuracy and Reliability, Empresas Del Bosque, and Coburn Ranch. This petition asks NMFS to delist the endangered Southern Resident killer whale DPS under the ESA. The petitioners contend that the killer whale DPS does not constitute a listable unit under the ESA because NMFS is without authority to list a DPS of a subspecies. The petitioners also contend that there is no scientific basis for the designation of the unnamed North Pacific Resident subspecies of which the Southern Resident killer whales are a purported DPS. They conclude that the listing of the Southern Resident killer whale DPS is illegal, and therefore, that NMFS should delist the DPS.

  • Click here to read NMFS' Federal Register notice soliciting comment on proposed delisting
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