November 01, 2005
NOAA Fisheries Service scientists believe these areas contain elements that are essential to northern right whale conservation in the Pacific Ocean. The areas contain certain types of zooplankton, which right whales eat. Recent sightings of right whales in the southeastern Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska and locations of right whale calls were instrumental in identifying these important feeding areas. The right whale calls were captured on acoustic recorders placed on the sea floor.
Graphic courtesy NOAA
"We are asking for public comments on this proposal," said Doug Mecum, Acting Regional Administrator for the Alaska Region of NOAA Fisheries Service. "We need to hear ideas and concerns before the close of business January 2."
The northern right whale remains one of the most endangered species on earth. Most biologists believe the current population in the Pacific Ocean is unlikely to exceed 100 individuals. Right whales are generally migratory. Based on the movements of Atlantic right whales, scientists predict that North Pacific populations move between summer feeding grounds in temperate or high latitudes and winter calving areas in warmer waters. The location of calving grounds remains completely unknown.
Northern right whales were listed in 1970 following passage of the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969, and were automatically granted endangered status when that Act was replaced by the ESA. Right whales are also protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
The actual proposed rule, maps, and other materials about the proposed critical habitat can be found on NOAA Fisheries Service's Alaska Region website: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov. Comments on this proposed rule must be received by close of business on January 2, 2006. Requests for public hearings must be made in writing within 45 days of when the proposal is published in the Federal Register.
Comments on this rule must be received by January 2, 2006. Requests for public hearings must be made by December 19, 2005.
Send comments to Kaja Brix, Assistant Regional Administrator, Protected Resources Division, Alaska Region, NOAA Fisheries Service, Attn: Lori Durall. Comments may be submitted by:
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