Status Review and Extinction Assessment of Cook Inlet Belugas
AFSC PROCESSED REPORT 2006-16
After completion (in 2005) of the Draft Conservation Plan for Cook Inlet belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA); the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recommended that a Status Review be conducted to incorporate new scientific findings available since the publication of a scientific review in 2000 in the journal Marine Fisheries Review 62 (3). NMFS formally initiated this Status Review on March 29, 2006 to determine if Cook Inlet belugas should be listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On April 20, 2006, NMFS received a petition from Trustees for Alaska to list Cook Inlet belugas as endangered under the ESA. After reviewing the information contained in the petition, as well as other scientific information readily available, NMFS determined the petitioned action may be warranted. Within 12 months of the date of the petition, NMFS must make one of the following findings:
1) the petitioned action is not warranted;
2) the petitioned action is warranted and the Secretary of Commerce will publish in the Federal Register (FR) a proposed regulation to implement the action pursuant to 50 CFR 424.16; or
3) the petitioned action is warranted, but
(A)the immediate proposal and timely promulgation of a regulation to implement the petitioned action is precluded because of other pending proposals to list, delist, or reclassify species; and
(B) expeditious progress is being made to list, delist, or reclassify qualified species, in which case such findings shall be promptly published in the FR.
This Status Review provides a summary of the best available science to aid NMFS policy makers in this process.