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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

« FWS downlists tolotoma snail, may list straighthorned markhor, Puerto Rican harlequin butterfly, and golden-winged warbler; adds critical habitat for Riverside Fairy shrimp; issues Molokai Plant Cluster recovery plan; and proposes prairie dog rule revisions. | Main| Sorry about the extended absence... back soon! »

Update: NOAA not listing goliath grouper or bluefin tuna, but proposes critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seal

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76 Fed. Reg. 31592 (Wednesday, June 1, 2011) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Docket No. 110516284–1286–01 / RIN 0648–XA097
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Notice of 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Goliath Grouper as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.
SUMMARY: We (NMFS) announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Accordingly, we will not initiate a status review of the species at this time.

LINKS: Visit NOAA's 2006 Status Report, and WildEarth Guardians 2010 Petition to List the Goliath Grouper (and other fish).

GoliathGrouperAndPhotographer.jpg
Photo from Nature's Best Photography Collection, 2007, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, People in Nature Winner, Photographer and Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara), Jupiter, Florida, USA by Michael Patrick O’Neill, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA, also published at FishingFury.com

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76 Fed. Reg. 31556 (Wednesday, June 1, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 /Docket No. 100903415–1286–02 / RIN 0648–XW96
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Species Act Listing Determination for Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of a listing determination and availability of a status review document.
SUMMARY: After we, NMFS, received a petition to list Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), we established a status review team (SRT) to conduct a review of the status of Atlantic bluefin tuna. We have reviewed the SRT’s status review report (SRR) and other available scientific and commercial information and have determined that listing Atlantic bluefin tuna as threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted at this time. We also announce the availability of the SRR.

KEITHINKING: The Atlantic Magazine was not happy with the NOAA decision, with Barry Estabrook bemoaning Tuna's Slow Death: Feds Refuse to Protect the Bluefin (Again) Tuna's Slow Death: Feds Refuse to Protect the Bluefin (Again).  But Carl Safina expressed a more measured viewpoint in The Huffington Post, acknowledging that Bluefin Tuna are In Danger But Not Endangered, and further explaining his point as follows:  "The bluefin is on a path to endangerment. And so we wait. One of the weaknesses of the Endangered Species Act is that it sets a floor -- preventing total extinction -- rather than setting a standard of abundant, viable populations. (By contrast, the Clean Water Act sets a standard: that America's waterways must be "fishable and swimmable.")"  See also the excellent coverage of this challenging topic of international environmental diplomacy in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Center for American Progress and even the Asbury Park Press Fishing Column.

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76 Fed. Reg. 32026 (Thursday, June 2, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
50 CFR Part 226 / Docket No. 110207102–1136–01 / RIN 0648–BA81
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Proposed Rulemaking To Revise Critical Habitat for Hawaiian Monk Seals
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.
SUMMARY: We, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), propose revising the current critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal (Monachus schauinslandi) by extending the current designation in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) out to the 500-meter (m) depth contour and including Sand Island at Midway Islands; and by designating six new areas in the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI), pursuant to section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specific areas proposed for the MHI include terrestrial and marine habitat from 5 m inland from the shoreline extending seaward to the 500-m depth contour around: Kaula Island, Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui Nui (including Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, and Molokai), and Hawaii (except those areas that have been identified as not included in the designation). We propose to exclude the following areas from designation because the national security benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion, and exclusion will not result in extinction of the species: Kingfisher Underwater Training area in marine areas off the northeast coast of Niihau; Pacific Missile Range Facility Main Base at Barking Sands, Kauai; Pacific Missile Range Facility Offshore Areas in marine areas off the western coast of Kauai; the Naval Defensive Sea Area and Puuloa Underwater Training Range in marine areas outside Pearl Harbor, Oahu; and the Shallow Water Minefield Sonar Training Range off the western coast of Kahoolawe in the Maui Nui area. We solicit comments on all aspects of the proposal, including information on the economic, national security, and other relevant impacts. We will consider additional information received prior to making a final designation.