SUBMIT A PUBLIC COMMENT!
We urge everyone to join in the process and let NOAA, NMFS know that there is widespread support for the proposed Whale Protection Zone.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced on January 13th, 2017, that it will consider a whale protection zone that will reduce noise and vessel disturbance of endangered southern resident killer whales. This population of killer whales has declined severely with only 78 whales remaining. The scientific petition seeks to protect core foraging habitat for the killer whales by reducing vessel disturbance. The key threats to killer whales include prey limitation, noise and pollution.
The Proposed Rule has been published in the Federal Register and opened for public comment during a 90-day period through the Administrative Procedure Act process.
You may submit information on this document identified by NOAA-NMFS-2016-0152 and the petition by either of the following methods:
Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal regulations.gov. To submit comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, click here, follow the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
Mail or hand-delivery: Lynne Barre, NMFS West Coast Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115.
Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter“N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).
To ensure our (NOAA, NMFS) decision about whether to accept the petition and move forward with the petitioned action to establish a whale protection zone is based on the best available scientific and commercial information, we are soliciting information from the public, governmental agencies, Tribes, the scientific community, industry, environmental entities, and any other interested parties concerning the petitioned action. In particular we request information and comments on:
(1) The advisability of and need for regulations to establish a whale protection zone;
(2) the geographic scope of regulations;
(3) alternative management options for regulating vessel interactions with killer whales, including but not limited to the option in the petition;
(4) scientific and commercial information regarding the effects of vessels on killer whales and their habitat;
(5) information regarding potential economic effects of regulating vessel interactions;
(6) any additional relevant information that NMFS should consider should it accept the petition. To inform your comments, information on the previous vessel regulations, the petition and other supporting documents is available here.
For the Orcas,
Orca Relief Citizens’ Alliance
 NMFS 2010. Final Environmental Assessment for New Regulations to Protect Killer Whales from Vessel Effects in Inland Waters of Washington. RIN 0648-AV15, p. 4-17; 4-19.