NOAA seeks comments for 2017 Marine Mammal Stock Assessment Reports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently completed a stock assessment report of regional marine mammal populations and seeks public comment of the drafted appraisal.

Regional assessments were conducted along the Atlantic seaboard, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean coast.

NMFS and NOAA staff specifically reviewed all 85 stocks in the Pacific Ocean region, according to a Federal Register notice.

Killer, sperm and humpback whale stocks were revised under the drafted stock assessment report, according to federal officials.

Section 117 of the Marine Mammal Protection Act mandates the assessment and public review. NMFS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are required under the act to prepare annual stock assessments for each stock of marine mammal within federal waters.

Stock assessment reports are peer-reviewed prior to being vetted by the public.

Public comments can be made online or via snail mail. Online comments can be submitted at bit.ly/2BW7T4B.

Snail mail comments or requests for copies of reports should be sent to: Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3226, Attn: Stock Assessments.

The draft stock assessments can be viewed online at bit.ly/2oYNCWV.

Questions about the Pacific Ocean stock assessment should be directed to Jim Carretta at 858-546-7171 or Jim.Carretta@noaa.gov.

All comments must be submitted by March 19, 2018.

NMFS/NOAA photo

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