Listening Session: Proposed Rule to Revise Listing Status of Humpback Whales

Guest Speaker: David Gouveia, NOAA Fisheries, Greater Atlantic Regional Office

Tuesday, June 9, 2015 ∙ 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. 
Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, 
3001 Atlantic Ave., Virginia Beach, VA 23451 
Telephone 757-213-3000

Webinar: http://mafmc.adobeconnect.com/june2015

Members of the public are invited to attend the Council’s next listening session at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9 to learn about – and provide comments on – a proposed rule to revise the Endangered Species Act (ESA) listing of the humpback whale. Individuals are welcome to attend in person or via webinar at the link above.

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Photo: NOAA

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Photo: NOAA

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) were first listed as endangered in 1970 under the Endangered Species Conservation Act, the precursor to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In April 2015, following a comprehensive status review of the humpback whale, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced a proposed rule to reclassify the species into 14 distinct population segments. Under the proposal, 10 of the newly-defined population segments would be removed from the endangered species list, while two would be listed as endangered and the remaining two would be classified as threatened. Once removed from the list, all the humpback whales would still be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).

Following a brief presentation on the proposed rule by David Gouveia, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries’ Greater Atlantic Regional Office, attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments on the proposed rule.

NMFS is also accepting written comments on the proposed rule through July 20, 2015. Go to http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2015/04/20_04_humpbacks.html for more information and instructions for submitting comments.

This listening session is being held in conjunction with the Council’s June meeting. Go to http://www.mafmc.org/briefing/june-2015 for more information and a complete agenda. Please contact Jason Didden at jdidden@mafmc.org or (302) 526-5254 if you have any questions regarding the listening session process or if you would like to confirm that your computer is set up to access the webinar.