Saturday, July 26, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Alaska wants some humpback whales off endangered list

The state says the central North Pacific subset is doing well

By Associated Press


ANCHORAGE, ALASKA » The state of Alaska has filed a petition to remove some North Pacific humpback whales from protections granted under the federal Endangered Species Act, saying the whales are thriving and no longer need them.

The petition filed Wednesday with the National Marine Fisheries Service aims to delist humpbacks that feed in Alaska in the summer and breed in Hawaii in winter, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Alaska's petition seeks removal of the central North Pacific whales from the list by declaring it a distinct population. Such a designation could lead to removal of protection for that population, even if other humpback populations remained officially endangered.

The petition dovetails with one filed last year by a Hawaii fishing association. The Hawaii group wants the entire North Pacific humpback population to be declared as a distinct population.

The fisheries service has 90 days to determine whether Alaska's petition justifies an in-depth review, agency spokes­woman Julie Speegle said.

About 20,000 of the whales are estimated in the North Pacific today.

The Endangered Species Act requires federal approval for federally funded or authorized activities that could harm whales or their habitat.

Alaska officials said the law represents an unnecessary regulatory burden on industries like fishing and oil and gas, given the recovery of humpbacks here.

"This subpopulation, it's time to delist it," said Doug Vincent-Lang, director of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation. "We're just trying to say the threat of extinction for this subpopulation is gone."

According to officials, other protections including the Marine Mammal Protection Act would remain in place. That law protects humpbacks from harassment and hunting.

Recovery of the whales across the North Pacific is slower for a population near South Korea and Japan, according to Lang.

Opponents of reduced federal protection say the North Pacific's whales still face too many threats, including fatal boat collisions, fishing gear entanglement and changing ocean chemistry.

Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the numbers of whales appear to be growing, which is a sign of success from the Endangered Species Act.

"But we think that NMFS should really take a careful look at the threats to these species before they jump to delisting," Noblin said.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 3 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
eoe wrote:
This sounds like a good idea. And that way we can bring back the Superferry and the opponents will have one less whining point.
on February 28,2014 | 04:04AM
hawaiifisherman wrote:
The opponents will be quick to create another whining point, I'm sure.
on February 28,2014 | 07:47AM
kapoleitalkstory wrote:
Sorry I do not trust the state since it is the same state that brought us Sarah Palin.
on February 28,2014 | 07:46AM
Latest News/Updates
Volley Shots
Fey, Enriques on MJNT

Political Radar
Wilhelmina Rise, et al.

Court Sense
Cold War

Political Radar
Climate change

Island Crafters

Warrior Beat
Empty pit

Political Radar

Political Radar
`Progressive hero’