Listing the Cook Inlet Stock of Beluga Whales under the ESA - Not Warranted
NOAA Fisheries received two petitions in March 1999 to list the Cook Inlet, Alaska, stock beluga whales as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The most immediate threat to the stock identified by the petitioners was the high level of harvest that was occurring under the Alaska Native exemption of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Since the receipt of the petition to list this species, legislative and management actions have been taken to reduce the subsistence harvest to levels that will allow the beluga whale stock to recover. NOAA Fisheries has evaluated the factors cited in the petitions, the best available scientific information, and management actions that have occurred since the receipt of the petition to list the stock. NOAA Fisheries has determined that listing the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales under the ESA is not warranted at this time.