FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chris Smith
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NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) is conducting a status review of Atlantic white marlin. Eleven public meetings have been scheduled on the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean to determine whether this species should be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. NOAA Fisheries conducts such status reviews when it receives a petition that includes substantial information that indicates an ESA listing may be warranted.
The Biodiversity Legal Foundation and James R. Chambers petitioned NOAA Fisheries in September 2001 to list Atlantic white marlin as threatened or endangered throughout its known range, and to designate critical habitat under the ESA. In December 2001, NOAA Fisheries found that the petition presented substantial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. NOAA Fisheries then solicited information and comments about Atlantic white marlin during a 60-day period. This public hearing stage is the next step before NOAA Fisheries is required in September to make a finding about the petition.
"It's important that we maximize the public's involvement in this status review to ensure that we get the best available information upon which we'll make our listing determination," said Georgia Cranmore, chief of protected resources for NOAA Fisheries Southeast. "The public scoping meetings are designed to collect additional data on the status of Atlantic white marlin we may not have yet."
According to ESA listing criteria, a species can be determined to be threatened or endangered for any one of the following reasons:
Present or threatened
destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range;
Public comment will be accepted at the following scoping meetings:
NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat. To learn more about NOAA Fisheries, please visit http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov.