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Alaska seeks removal of humpbacks from list


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska has filed a petition to remove some North Pacific humpback whales from protections granted under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Anchorage Daily News reported the petition filed Wednesday with the National Marine Fisheries Service aims to delist humpbacks that feed in Alaska in the summer and breed in Hawaii in winter.

Alaska’s petition seeks removal of the central North Pacific whales from the list by declaring it a distinct population.

The petition dovetails with one filed last year by a Hawaii fishing association. The Hawaii group wants the entire North Pacific humpback population to be declared as a distinct population.

NMFS spokeswoman Julie Speegle says the agency has 90 days to determine if Alaska’s petition justifies an in-depth review.