CONTENTS Acknowledgments References List of Appendices List of Stock Assessments for All Years
NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NE-162
U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Marine Mammal Stock Assessments -- 2000Gordon T. Waring1, Janeen M. Quintal1, and Steven L. Swartz2, Editors
with contributions from (listed alphabetically): Neilo B. Barros3, Phillip J. Clapham1, Timothy V.N. Cole1, Carol P. Fairfield3, Larry J. Hansen4, Keith D. Mullin5, Daniel K. Odell3, Debra L. Palka1, Marjorie C. Rossman1, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service6, Randall S. Wells7, and Cynthia Yeung2
1National Marine Fisheries Service, 166 Water St., Woods Hole, MA 02543-1026
2National Marine Fisheries Service, 75 Virginia Beach Dr., Miami, FL 33149-1003
3Sea World, Inc., 7007 Sea World Dr., Orlando, FL 32821-8097
4National Marine Fisheries Service, 219 Ft. Johnson Rd., Charleston, SC 29412
5National Marine Fisheries Service, P.O. Drawer 1207, Pascagoula, MS 39568-1207
6U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Dr., S., Jacksonville, FL 32399-3000
7Mote Marine laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Hwy., Sarasota, FL 34236
Web version posted November 2000Citation: Waring GT, Quintal JM, Swartz SL, Editors. 2000. US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico marine mammal stock assessments -- 2000. US Dep Commer, NOAA Tech Memo NMFS NE 162; 298 p.
Information Quality Act Compliance: In accordance with section 515 of Public Law 106-554, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center completed both technical and policy reviews for this report. These predissemination reviews are on file at the NEFSC Editorial Office.
The authors wish to acknowledge contributions by the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) Sea Sampling Investigation, Dana Hartley (Northeast Regional Office), Blair Mase (Southeast Fisheries Science Center). Also, we acknowledge advice and comments provided by: Richard Merrick, Fred Serchuk and Fred Wenzel (NEFSC); Doug Beach, Kim Thounhurst and Pat Gerrior (NER); Kathy Wang (SER); and Solange Brault, Joseph DeAlteris, Bill Foster, James Gilbert, Robert Kenney, James Mead, Daniel Odell, Andrew Read, Randall Wells and Sharon Young of the Atlantic Scientific Review Group. We also thank Ed Tripple, Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans; Lynn LeFebvre , USGS-BRD Florida Caribbean Science Center - Sirenia Project; Billy Brooks and Cathy Langtimm, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Vicki Cornish and Greg Silber, NMFS Office of Protected Resources; and Tami Adams, Center for Marine Conservation, for their comments at the SRG review meeting. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Jacksonville, Florida, prepared the manatee reports.
Under the 1994 amendments of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) were required to generate stock assessment reports (SAR) for all marine mammal stocks in waters within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The first reports for the Atlantic (includes the Gulf of Mexico) were published in July 1995 (Blaylock et al. 1995). The MMPA requires NMFS and USFWS to review these reports annually for strategic stocks of marine mammals and at least every 3 years for stocks determined to be non-strategic. The second edition of the SARs (1996 assessments) was published in October 1997 and contained all the previous reports, but major revisions and updating were only completed for strategic stocks (Waring et al. 1997). Updated reports were identified by a 1997 date-stamp at the top right corner at the beginning of each report. The 3rd edition of the SARs (1998 assessments) only contained reports for Atlantic stocks, and updated reports were identified by a 1998 date-stamp (Waring et al. 1999). The 4th edition of the SARs (1999 assessments) only contained reports for Atlantic stocks, and updated reports were identified by a 1999 date-stamp (Waring et al. 1999). The current report contains only updated assessments for Atlantic strategic stocks, and for Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico stocks for which significant new information was available. These reports are identified by a September 2000 date-stamp at the beginning of each report.
This report was prepared by staff of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), and Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC). NMFS staff presented the reports at the November 1999 meeting of the Atlantic Scientific Review Group (ASRG), and subsequent revisions were based on their contributions and constructive criticism. Further, the Marine Mammal Commission, the Humane Society of the U.S., and the Center for Marine Conservation provided comments on earlier versions of this report.
Table 1 contains a summary, by species, of the information included in the stock assessments, and also indicates those that have been revised since the 1999 publication. A total of 28 of the 60 Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico stock assessment reports were revised for 2000. Most of the proposed changes incorporate new information into sections on population size and mortality estimates. The revised SARs include 15 strategic and 13 non-strategic stocks. For the first time, individual species abundance estimates are available for the Western North Atlantic Stocks of Atlantic spotted and Pantropical spotted dolphins. The Rmax value for the Western North Atlantic Stock of Northern right whales has been set at zero, based on recent modeling that suggests the population is in decline. Information on human interactions (fishery and ship strikes) between the right whale, humpback whale, fin whale and minke whale stocks were re-reviewed and updated. The Western North Atlantic stock of long-finned pilot whales was changed to strategic based on the annual incidental mortality estimate. Further, the stock definition for humpback whale was changed from North Atlantic Stock to Gulf of Maine Stock based on recent genetic analysis.
This is a working document and individual stock assessment reports will be updated as new information becomes available and as changes to marine mammal stocks and fisheries occur. The authors solicit any new information or comments which would improve future stock assessment reports.
Section 117 of the 1994 amendments to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) requires that an annual stock assessment report (SAR) for each stock of marine mammals that occurs in waters under U.S. jurisdiction, be prepared by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in consultation with regional Scientific Review Groups (SRG). The SRGs are a broad representation of marine mammal and fishery scientists and members of the commercial fishing industry mandated to review the marine mammal stock assessments and provide advice to the Assistant Administrator for NMFS. The reports are then made available on the Federal Register for public review and comment before final publication.
The MMPA requires that each SAR contain several items, including: (1) a description of the stock, including its geographic range; (2) a minimum population estimate, a maximum net productivity rate, and a description of current population trend, including a description of the information upon which these are based; (3) an estimate of the annual human-caused mortality and serious injury of the stock, and, for a strategic stock, other factors that may be causing a decline or impeding recovery of the stock, including effects on marine mammal habitat and prey; (4) a description of the commercial fisheries that interact with the stock, including the estimated number of vessels actively participating in the fishery and the level of incidental mortality and serious injury of the stock by each fishery on an annual basis; (5) a statement categorizing the stock as strategic or not, and why; and (6) an estimate of the potential biological removal (PBR) level for the stock, describing the information used to calculate it. The MMPA also requires that SARs be updated annually for stocks which are specified as strategic stocks, or for which significant new information is available, and once every three years for nonstrategic stocks.
Following enactment of the 1994 amendments, the NMFS and FWS held a series of workshops to develop guidelines for preparing the SARs. The first set of stock assessments for the Atlantic Coast (including the Gulf of Mexico) were published in July 1995 in the NOAA Technical Memorandum series (Blaylock et al. 1995). In April 1996, the NMFS held a workshop to review proposed additions and revisions to the guidelines for preparing SARs (Wade and Angliss 1997). Guidelines developed at the workshop were followed in preparing the 1996 (Waring et al. 1997), 1998 (Waring et al. 1999) and 1999 (Waring et al. 1999) SARs. A 1997 SAR was not produced.
In this document, major revisions and updating of the SARs were only completed for Atlantic Coast strategic stocks and Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico stocks for which significant new information were available. These are identified by the September 2000 date-stamp at the top right corner at the beginning of each report. The stock definition for humpback whale was changed from North Atlantic Stock to Gulf of Maine Stock based on recent genetic analysis. The western North Atlantic stock of long-finned pilot whale was changed to strategic.
Blaylock, R. A., J. W. Hain, L. J. Hansen, D. L. Palka and G. T. Waring. 1995. U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico marine mammal stock assessments. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-363, 211 pp.
Wade, P. R. and R. P. Angliss. 1997. Guidelines for assessing marine mammal stocks: Report of the GAMMS workshop April 3-5, 1996, Seattle, Washington. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-OPR-12, 93 pp.
Waring, G. T., D. L. Palka, K. D. Mullin, J. H. W. Hain, L. J. Hansen and K. D. Bisack. 1997. U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico marine mammal stock assessments. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-NE-114, 250 pp.
Waring, G. T., D. L. Palka, P, J. Clapham, S. Swartz, M. Rossman, T.V.N. Cole, K. D. Bisack and L. J. Hansen. 1999. U.S. Atlantic marine mammal stock assessments-1998. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-NE-116, 182 pp.
Waring, G. T., D. L. Palka, P. J. Clapham, S. Swartz, M. C. Rossman, T. V. N. Cole, L .J. Hansen, K. D. Bisack, K. D. Mullin, R. S. Wells, D. K. Odell and N. B. Barros. 1999. U. S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico marine mammal stock assessments - 1999. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-NE-153, 196 pp.