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Endangered and Threatened Species; Notice of Initiation of a 5-Year Review of the Southern Right Whale

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National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.


Notice; request for information.


NMFS announces the initiation of a 5-year review for the southern right whale (Eubalaena australis). NMFS is required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to conduct 5-year reviews to ensure that the listing classifications of species are accurate. The 5-year review must be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. We request submission of any such information on the southern right whale, particularly information on the status, threats, and recovery of the species that has become available since its last status review in 2015.


To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we must receive your information no later than October 13, 2020.


You may submit information on this document, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2020-0114, by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submission: Submit electronic information via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to and enter NOAA-NMFS-2020-0114. Click on the “Comment Now!” icon and complete the required fields. Enter or attach your comments.
  • Mail: Submit written comments to Heather Austin, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13634, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the specified period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will Start Printed Page 49641accept anonymous submissions (enter “N/A” in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

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Heather Austin at the above address, by phone at (301) 427-8422 or

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This notice announces our review of the southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) listed as endangered under the ESA. Section 4(c)(2)(A) of the ESA requires that we conduct a review of listed species at least once every 5 years. This will be the fourth review of this species since it was listed in 1970 under the Endangered Species Conservation Act, the precursor to the ESA. The regulations in 50 CFR 424.21 require that we publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing species currently under active review. On the basis of such reviews under section 4(c)(2)(B), we determine whether any species should be removed from the list (i.e., delisted) or reclassified from endangered to threatened or from threatened to endangered (16 U.S.C. 1533(c)(2)(B)). As described by the regulations in 50 CFR 424.11(e), the Secretary shall delist a species if the Secretary finds that, after conducting a status review based on the best scientific and commercial data available: (1) The species is extinct; (2) the species does not meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species; and/or (3) the listed entity does not meet the statutory definition of a species. Any change in Federal classification would require a separate rulemaking process.

Background information on the species is available on the NMFS website at:​species/​southern-right-whale.

Public Solicitation of New Information

To ensure that the reviews are complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, we are soliciting new information from the public, governmental agencies, Tribes, the scientific community, industry, environmental entities, and any other interested parties concerning the status of Eubalaena australis. Categories of requested information include: (1) Species biology including, but not limited to, population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics; (2) habitat conditions including, but not limited to, amount, distribution, and important features for conservation; (3) status and trends of threats to the species and its habitats; (4) conservation measures that have been implemented that benefit the species, including monitoring data demonstrating effectiveness of such measures; and (5) other new information, data, or corrections including, but not limited to, taxonomic or nomenclatural changes and improved analytical methods for evaluating extinction risk.

If you wish to provide information for the review, you may submit your information and materials electronically or via mail (see ADDRESSES section). We request that all information be accompanied by supporting documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, or reprints of pertinent publications. We also would appreciate the submitter's name, address, and any association, institution, or business that the person represents; however, anonymous submissions will also be accepted.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

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Dated: August 10, 2020.

Angela Somma,

Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 2020-17766 Filed 8-13-20; 8:45 am]