The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) acted on the petition to list Atlantic white marlin as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (see "Newslines" December 2001). NMFS found that the petition, filed jointly by James R. Chambers and the Biodiversity Legal Foundation, had "substantial scientific information indicating the petitioned action may be warranted," according to the Federal Register. NMFS has until September 4, 2002, to determine if white marlin should be listed, and if so, as a threatened or endangered species. NMFS is seeking public comment until February 19, 2002. The Billfish Foundation has opposed the effort, citing the fact that such a listing will only restrain U.S. fisheries and have no impact on foreign, high-seas longline vessels, which are the root cause of the bycatch problem.
Readers can submit requests for information and copies of the petition, as well as comments, to: Georgia Cranmore, Assistant Regional Administrator for Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 9721 Executive Center Drive North, St. Petersburg, FL 33702-2432. Or call: Jennifer Lee, NMFS Southeast Region (727) 570-5312, David O'Brien, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, (301) 713-1401.