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Posts Tagged ‘Beluga Whales’

Palin Fails to Block Beluga Whale Protection

Posted by feww on October 18, 2008

“The [beluga whale] population is critically endangered.” —Craig Matkin of the North Gulf Oceanic Society

“… we believe that this endangered listing is premature.”—Sarah Palin, the high priestess of ethics, family values, energy and politics [sic.]

“We just aren’t sure that an endangered listing, and all the legal requirements it brings with it, is necessary to assure the health of this population at this time.” —Denby Lloyd, The Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner

Much to the annoyance of Gov Sarah [lipstick] Palin and her gang, beluga whales in Alaska was listed as endangered species. Having pressed “for a few years to get more population counts,” Palin called the listing “premature.”

“Hopefully the State of Alaska will now work toward protecting the beluga rather than, as with the polar bear, denying the science and suing to overturn the listing,” said Brendan Cummings, the oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity.


A beluga whale kisses a 4 yo boy, despite being held in captivity. Photo: Getty Images. Source: SMH. Image may be subject to copyright.

The population fell from about 650 in 1994 to a low of about 280 in 2005, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

NOAA says that beluga Whales in the Cook Inlet risk extinction and need strict protections under the Endangered Species Act.


Lower Cook Inlet region in south central Alaska. Credit: Alaska Volcano Observatory.

“In spite of protections already in place, Cook Inlet beluga whales are not recovering,” said James Balsinger at  NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

“The science was clear — and it has been for a very long time,” said marine mammal scientist Craig Matkin of the North Gulf Oceanic Society. “The population is critically endangered.”

“The State of Alaska has had serious concerns about the low population of belugas in Cook Inlet for many years,”  Palin said after the NOAA decision. “However, we believe that this endangered listing is premature.” [Really?]

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game commissioner, Denby Lloyd, admitted that they had urged NOAA to delay the listing “for a few years to get more population counts.”

“Of course, whenever you have a population of marine mammals that is this low, it is a cause for serious concern … We just aren’t sure that an endangered listing, and all the legal requirements it brings with it, is necessary to assure the health of this population at this time.” Lloyd said.

[Note: There won’t be a next time after the population is extinct!]


Beluga Whale. Photo credit: NOAA. The critically endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale population is one of the five distinct populations off Alaska, the only ones in U.S. waters.

“Various industry groups have also fought the listing, which they fear will hamper Cook Inlet oil and gas development, cargo shipping, commercial fishing and major construction projects. Reuters reported.

Conservation groups filed a petition some 9 years ago [March 1999] to list the beluga as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.

Posted in Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Cook Inlet, corporate interest, endangered listing, NOAA's Fisheries Service | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »