Chronology of Southern Resident Killer Whale (Puget Sound Orca) Actions

May 2001 - present

September 2019: NOAA Fisheries announced a proposed rule to revise the critical habitat designation for Southern Resident killer whales, and requested public comments.

December 2017: NOAA Fisheries released tech memo evaluating the effectiveness of 2011 vessel regulations.

January 2017: NOAA Fisheries receives a petition to establish a Whale Protection Zone for Southern Resident killer whales and requests public comments .

December 2016: NOAA Fisheries released 5-Year Status Review for Southern Resident killer whales, December 2016.

January 26, 2016: Initiation of 5-Year Status Review for Southern Resident killer whales. Comments due April 25, 2016.

February 23, 2015: NOAA Fisheries announced a 12-month finding on a petition to revise the critical habitat designation for Southern Resident killer whales. The 12-month finding states that a revision is warranted.

February 10, 2015: NOAA Fisheries announced a final rule that includes Lolita, a captive killer whale at the Miami Seaquarium, in the endangered species listing for the Southern Resident killer whale population.

April 25, 2014: NOAA Fisheries accepted petition & will consider whether revising critical habitat for Southern Resident killer whales is warranted.

January 24, 2014: NOAA Fisheries announces a 12-month finding on the Lolita petition and a proposed rule to include Lolita as a member of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed Southern Resident killer whale DPS and remove the exclusion for captive members of the population.

August 5, 2013: NOAA Fisheries determines that delisting the Southern Resident killer whale DPS is not warranted.

April 29, 2013: NOAA Fisheries accepts a petition to include Lolita in the ESA listing of Southern Resident killer whales.

March 28, 2013: NOAA Fisheries holds Killer Whale Protection workshop in Roche Harbor, Washington. The primary objectives of the workshop were to (a) Review current vessel regulations, guidelines, and associated analyses; (b) Review monitoring, boater education and enforcement efforts; (c) Review available industry and economic information and identify data gaps; and (d) Provide a forum for stakeholder input to explore next steps for addressing vessel effects on killer whales.

November 27, 2012: NOAA Fisheries accepts a petition to delist Southern Resident killer whales.

April 8, 2011: NOAA Fisheries announces regulations to protect killer whales in Washington State from the effects of various vessel activities.

March 17, 2011: NOAA Fisheries concludes the 5-year review & determines that no change is needed in endangered ESA listing status of Southern Resident killer whales.

December 8, 2010: NOAA Fisheries extends public comment period on application for killer whale scientific research permit amendment (75 FR 76399).

November 9, 2010: NOAA Fisheries requests public comments on application for killer whale scientific research permit amendment (75 FR 68757).

April 6, 2010: NOAA Fisheries requests public comments on status for 5-year review (75 FR 17377).

July 2009-January 2010: NOAA Fisheries takes public comments on proposed vessel regulations and holds meetings (74 FR 37674).

October 19, 2009: NOAA Fisheries extends public comment period for proposed killer whale vessel regulations (74 FR 53454).

September 17, 2009: NOAA Fisheries announces public meetings on proposed protective vessel regulations for Puget Sound killer whales (74 FR 47779).

July 29, 2009: NOAA Fisheries proposes regulations to protect killer whales in Washington State from effects of various vessel activities (74 FR 37674).

January 24, 2008: NOAA Fisheries releases final ESA Recovery Plan for Puget Sound killer whales (73 FR 4176).

March 22, 2007: NOAA Fisheries requests input on potential regulations to protect killer whales from effects of various vessel activities (72 FR 13464).

November 29, 2006: NOAA Fisheries proposes ESA recovery plan for Southern Resident killer whales (71 FR 69101).

November 29, 2006: NOAA Fisheries designates final ESA critical habitat for the Southern Residents (71 FR 69054).

June-August 2006: NOAA Fisheries takes public comments on proposed critical habitat and holds meetings.

June 15, 2006: NOAA Fisheries proposes ESA critical habitat for the Southern Residents (71 FR 34571).

November 18, 2005: NOAA Fisheries lists Southern Resident killer whales as "endangered" under the ESA (70 FR 69903).

October 3, 2005: NOAA Fisheries releases Proposed Conservation Plan for Southern Resident Killer Whales (70 FR 57565).

December 2004-March 2005: NOAA Fisheries takes public comment on its proposed ESA listing determination, holds meetings and hearings, and conducts peer review.

December 22, 2004: NOAA Fisheries proposes "threatened" ESA listing for Southern Resident killer whales (69 FR 76673).

March 2, 2004: NOAA Fisheries announces status review update and request for more information on Eastern North Pacific Southern Resident killer whales (69 FR 9809).

December 17, 2003: As a result of a court challenge brought by original petitioners seeking listing status for the killer whales, NOAA Fisheries is told by federal court to reconsider process by which it determined ESA listing eligibility and to make a new finding by December 17, 2004.

May 29, 2003: NOAA Fisheries declares Southern Resident killer whales "depleted" under Marine Mammal Protection Act (68 FR 31980) and begins work on a conservation plan for the species, which is essentially identical to a "recovery plan" that would be required if the species was listed under the ESA.

January 30, 2003: NOAA Fisheries requests comments on proposal to designate Southern Resident killer whales as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (68 FR 4747).

July 1, 2002: NOAA Fisheries determines that while the population of Southern Resident killer whale is falling and the whales are in trouble, they don’t meet standards for protection under the ESA (67 FR 44133). Because of the way scientists classify all killer whales as a single world-wide species, Southern Resident killer whales don’t meet the criterion of biological "significance" and thus cannot be listed. At the same time, NOAA Fisheries says that it will start the process to declare the Southern Resident killer whale a "depleted" species under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (67 FR 44132).

August 13, 2001: NOAA Fisheries formally accepts ESA listing petition and begins process to determine if these Southern Resident killer whales qualify for protection (66 FR 42499).

May 2001: Center for Biological Diversity petitions NOAA Fisheries to list Southern Resident killer whales under the ESA.

Last updated by on September 29, 2020