NMFS Asks for Comment on Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan Regulations

The National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed rules amending the current regulations implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan. This proposed rule revises the management measures for reducing the incidental mortality and serious injury to the North Atlantic right whale, humpback whale, and fin whale in commercial trap/pot and gillnet fisheries to meet the goals of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. The measures identified in the Plan are also intended to benefit minke whale, which are not strategic, but are known to be taken incidentally in commercial fisheries. NMFS wants comments on or before September 16, 2013. NMFS’ Federal register notice seeking comments is available online at

Lawsuit pushing National Marine Fisheries Service to protect habitat for Puget Sound Rockfins

SEATTLE — The Center for Biological Diversity said Thursday it intends to sue the National Marine Fisheries Service for missing a deadline to designate protected habitat for endangered Puget Sound rockfish. It’s been three years since they were listed.

A lawyer for the group in San Francisco, Catherine Kilduff, says some rockfish can live to be 100 years old and losing them would be like clear-cutting an old growth forest.

Fisheries Service spokesman Brian Gorman in Seattle says the agency will likely complete the designation within 60 days, before a lawsuit would be filed.

NMFS Decides Not to List Ribbon Seals Under the ESA

NMFS has decided not to list the ribbon seal (Histriophoca fasciata)as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. NMFS based its decion on the best scientific and commercial data available, including the Biological Review Team’s status review report. NMFS has also announced the availability of the ribbon seal status review report. NMFS’ decision is discussed in the Service’s July 10, 2013 Federal Register notice, which is
available online at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/07/10/2013-16601/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-determination-on-whether-to-list-the-ribbon-seal-as-a-threatened.