The National Sea Grant Law Center

Blog

Categories: “Endangered Species”

  • NMFS Designates Critical Habitat Areas for Humpback Whales in Pacific
  • May 21st, 2021 — by Zachary Klein — Category: Endangered Species

  • On April 21, 2021, the National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS)—a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—published a final rule in the Federal Register that designates critical habitat areas for humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean.


    Read More ➜



  • Renewed Challenge to Dusky Shark Bycatch Regulation Fails
  • April 21st, 2021 — by Terra Bowling — Category: Endangered Species

  • The dusky shark is a migratory predator that inhabits coastal waters from Nova Scotia to Brazil. The shark has an average length of twelve feet and weighs approximately 400 pounds. Commercial and recreational fishermen heavily fished the species at the end of the 20th Century, resulting in the species’ drastic population decline. The National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) designation of the shark as a “prohibited species” in 2000 made it illegal for fishermen to possess, sell, take, or retain them.


    Read More ➜



  • DC Court Harpoons Hard Caps for Pacific Swordfish Bycatch in Blow to Ocean Conservationists
  • March 23rd, 2021 — by Zachary Klein — Category: Endangered Species Fisheries

  • The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) recently announced its intent to withdraw a rule that would have suspended the drift gillnet swordfish fishery in California and Oregon if the fishery were to exceed a limit (or “hard cap”) on deaths and injuries caused to certain turtles and marine mammals over a two-year period. This action is in response to a decision handed down by a federal district court last month.


    Read More ➜



  • Beluga Whale Import Permit Up in the Air
  • February 17th, 2021 — by Terra Bowling — Category: Endangered Species

  • In August, NOAA Fisheries issued a permit to Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut to import five captive-born beluga whales from an amusement park in Ontario, Canada. Beluga whales, known for their white color and wide-ranging vocal sounds, are found in Alaskan waters and throughout the Arctic Ocean.


    Read More ➜



  • 2020 Arctic Report Card Highlights Threats to Recovering Bowhead Whales
  • January 29th, 2021 — by Sierre Anton — Category: Endangered Species

  • NOAA recently published the 2020 Arctic Report Card, which highlights the current environmental and ecological conditions of the Arctic Circle.


    Read More ➜



  • Are Bees Fish? California Court Considers Novel Arguments in Endangered Species Case
  • December 14th, 2020 — by Zachary Klein — Category: Endangered Species

  • Bees aren’t fish. Obviously, right? Not so fast. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (the Xerces Society), a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit, created quite a buzz in October 2018 when it petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission (the Commission) to include four species of bumblebee on the state’s endangered species list.

    Read More ➜



  • Massachusetts’ Permitting of Lobster Fishing in Hot Water Over ESA Violation
  • May 19th, 2020 — by Zachary Klein — Category: Endangered Species

  • The United States District Court of Massachusetts dealt a blow to the state’s Division of Marine Fisheries and lobster fishing industry in a decision issued on April 30, 2020. The case, which was heard by District Judge Indira Talwani, concerned whether the agency had run afoul of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) by permitting the use of vertical buoy ropes in lobsterpot fishing despite the threat they pose to the North Atlantic Right Whale.


    Read More ➜



  • Controversy over the Trump Administration’s new Central Valley Water Plan Continues- California Questions Whether Fish Species Will be Adequately Protected
  • February 26th, 2020 — by Catherine Janasie — Category: Endangered Species Environmental Law

  • Last week, President Trump traveled to California to sign a memorandum implementing a new plan for the delivery of water to the state’s Central Valley. The water plan is controversial- while it will allow more water to reach Central Valley farmers, it will also impact fish species listed as threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That is due to the fact the updated water plans will allow for more diversions from the state’s Bay-Delta watershed that serves as habitat for these listed species.


    Read More ➜



  • NMFS Proposes Six New Critical Habitat Designations for the Southern Resident Killer Whale
  • October 24th, 2019 — by Philip Lott — Category: Endangered Species

  • Last month, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed a new rule to revise the critical habitat for the Southern Resident killer whale (Orcinus orca) in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. The proposed rule comes at a time when the species’ population size is at a historic low. In 1995, the highest census count for the species was 98.


    Read More ➜



  • Seventeen States Sue Trump Administration over Recent Endangered Species Act Revisions
  • October 4th, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Endangered Species

  • On September 25, seventeen states from California to Massachusetts filed a complaint in federal court against the Trump administration hoping to stop recent regulatory revisions meant to substantially change how Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections are considered and enforced. The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, follows a similar challenge by several environmental groups, including the Humane Society and Sierra Club, filed in August.


    Read More ➜



  • A Whale of a Tale: Federal Government Struggles to Balance Competing Interests While Preserving Endangered Whale Populations
  • September 13th, 2019 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Endangered Species  Fisheries

  • In the summer of 2019, both the state of Maine and the federal government became embroiled in a struggle between commercial fishermen and environmentalists over endangered North Atlantic right whale populations. As increasing numbers of right whales were found deceased in the waters in and around Maine, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began contemplating how to best protect the endangered whales.


    Read More ➜



  • NMFS Lists Bryde’s Whale as Endangered
  • April 26th, 2019 — by Terra Bowling — Category: Endangered Species

  • Last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale, a large baleen whale, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency determined that the whale is endangered “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.” The agency cited studies showing that there are fewer than 100 Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whales left in the population.


    Read More ➜



  • ESA Case Update- Weyerhaeuser Co. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 139 S. Ct. 361 (2018)
  • December 19th, 2018 — by Cathy Janasie — Category: Endangered Species

  • The U.S. Supreme Court recently vacated and remanded a case involving the critical habitat designation of the dusky gopher frog, a mid-size frog about three inches long that can be black, brown, or gray in color, giving the frog its “dusky” name. The frog gets its “gopher” name because it spends the majority of its time underground in burrows or stump holes in open canopy forests. One of the frog’s most recognizable and endearing traits is that it uses its front legs to cover its eyes when it feels threatened.


    Read More ➜



  • Federal Court of Appeals Upholds U.S. Ban on Mexican Seafood Imports
  • December 7th, 2018 — by Amanda Nichols — Category: Endangered Species

  • On November 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a months-old ban on the importation of Mexican shrimp and other seafood caught using gillnets. The import ban was promulgated in response to gillnets’ impact on the critically endangered vaquita porpoise—of which there are only fifteen members remaining in the wild. The species is killed at a rate of about fifty percent annually due to their accidental entanglement in gillnets used in the Upper Gulf of California, Mexico. This ruling marks the most recent in a line of failed legal challenges several U.S. governmental agencies have made in a hope to have the ban struck down.


    Read More ➜

Stay Current with
Our Publications

Subscribe today to our free
quarterly publication, The SandBar
— and to our monthly newsletter,
the Ocean and Coastal Case Alert.