Final Rule to List Bryde's Whale in the Gulf of Mexico Under the ESA
We, NOAA Fisheries, issue a final rule to list the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) (hereafter GOMx Bryde's whale) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). We have completed a status review of the GOMx Bryde’s whale in response to a petition submitted by the Natural Resource Defense Council. After reviewing the best scientific and commercial data available, including the status review and comments received on the proposed rule, we have determined that the GOMx Bryde’s whale is a subspecies of B. edeni and warrants listing as endangered. The GOMx Bryde’s whale is presently in danger of extinction (i.e., meets the definition of endangered) throughout all of its range due to its small population size and restricted range, and the threats of energy exploration, development and production, oil spills and oil spill response, vessel collision, fishing gear entanglement, and anthropogenic noise.