Groups seek endangered species designation for gray whales

Two environmental groups have petitioned the federal government to have gray whales considered again for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

But National Marine Fisheries Service spokesman Brian Gorman said the gray whale population is healthy and labeled the petition an attempt to block the Makah tribe’s gray whale hunt.

Australians for Animals and The Fund for Animals filed the petition last week. The groups said that global warming, climate changes, bottom trawling, offshore gas and oil development and the Makah whale hunt all threaten gray whales in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The Fisheries Service disagrees.

“It strikes me as being a transparent attempt to halt Makah whaling,” Gorman said. “The gray whale population is robust.”

D.J. Schubert, a Phoenix wildlife biologist and the primary author of the petition, said concerns about whaling are just part of the effort to have the whale relisted.

For the complete story see Thursday’s Peninsula Daily News, on sale in Clallam and Jefferson counties.

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