Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Notice of 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's Whale as Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
We, NMFS, announce a 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 Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have completed a Status Review report of the Gulf of Mexico Bryde's whale in response to a petition submitted by the Natural Resources Defense Council. After reviewing the best scientific and commercial data available, including the Status Review report, and consulting with the Society for Marine Mammology's Committee on Taxonomy, we have 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. We are soliciting information that may be relevant to inform both our final listing determination and designation of critical habitat.
Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Geophysical Surveys in the Gulf of Mexico
NMFS has received a revised application for ITRs from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), on behalf of oil and gas industry operators. The specified activity considered in the application is geophysical survey activity conducted in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM), over the course of five years from the date of issuance. Pursuant to regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is announcing receipt of BOEM's request for the development of regulations governing the incidental taking of marine mammals. NMFS invites the public to provide information, suggestions, and comments on BOEM's application.