NMFS Proposes to List GOM Bryde’s Whale Under ESA

On December 8, 2016, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service We, published Federal Register notice of NMFS’ 12- month finding and listing determination on a petition to list the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. This NMFS Status Review report of the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale responds to a petition submitted by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

NMFS has determined that the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale is taxonomically a subspecies of the Bryde’s whale thus meeting the ESA’s definition of a species. Based on the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale’s small population (likely fewer than 100 individuals), its life history characteristics, its extremely limited distribution, and its vulnerability to existing threats, we believe that the species faces a high risk of extinction.

Based on these considerations, described in more detail within this action, we conclude that the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale is in danger of extinction throughout all of its range and meets the definition of an endangered species.

NMFS solicits information that may be relevant to inform both its final listing determination and designation of critical habitat. NMFS must receive any information and comments on this proposed action by January 30, 2017.

NMFS will hold a public hearing on this proposed action in St. Petersburg, Florida; January 19, 2017; from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office, Dolphin Conference Room, 236 13th Avenue, South, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701.

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

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