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ESA Section 4: Listings, Critical Habitat, and Recovery
Under Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), NOAA Fisheries (NMFS) may initiate status reviews of marine species. Also, any U.S. citizen or organization may petition us to list a species as "threatened" or "endangered", reclassify a species, or to revise critical habitat under the ESA.
For more information on the ESA Section 4 listing process, please see the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' ESA Section 4 listing page
Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale
On October 1, 2009, a petition to list the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) under the ESA was received from the Natural Resources Defense Council. NOAA Fisheries listed the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale as an endangered distinct population segment on November 28, 2012 (77 FR 70915).
For more information, please visit our False Killer Whale page.
On October 20, 2009, a petition to list 83 species of coral under the ESA was received from the Center for Biological Diversity.
For more information, please visit our Coral page.
On January 4, 2010, a petition to list the bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) under the ESA was received from WildEarth Guardians. On November 7, 2012, a Not Warranted 12-month finding was published in the Federal Register announcing that listing the bumphead parrotfish as either threatened or endangered under the ESA is not warranted (77 FR 66799).
For more information, please visit our Bumphead Parrotfish page.
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark
On August 14, 2011, a petition to list the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) under the ESA was received from WildEarth Guardians.
For more information, please visit our Scalloped Hammerhead Shark page.
Green Sea Turtle
On March 23, 2015, NOAA Fisheries issued a 12-month finding and proposed rule to remove the current range-wide listing of the green sea turtle and, in its place, list 8 DPSs as threatened and 3 DPSs as endangered (80 FR 15271). Although we find that the Hawaiian green turtle population (referred to in the proposed rule as the Central North Pacific population) does constitute a DPS, we do not find removing this population from the ESA warranted at this time. All green sea turtles in the Pacific Islands Region are protected by the ESA and remain protected under the proposed rule. We are soliciting comments on this proposal through June 22, 2015. A public hearing will be held on April 8, 2015, at the Japanese Cultural Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, 2454 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96826.
On August 1, 2012, NOAA Fisheries made a positive 90-day finding (77 FR 45571), determining that the petitioned action may be warranted. A comprehensive status review is underway to inform the 12-month finding.
On February 16, 2012, a petition to classify the green sea turtle (Chelonia midas) in Hawaii as a distinct population segment (DPS) and delist the DPS under the ESA was received from the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.
For more information, please visit our Green Sea Turtle page.
Great White Shark
On June 25 and August 13, 2012, two petitions to list the Northeastern Pacific (NEP) population of great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) as either endangered or threatened under the ESA were received from WildEarth Guardians and jointly from Oceana, Center for Biological Diversity, and Shark Stewards, respectively.
For more information, please visit our Great White Shark page.
On September 14, 2012, a petition to list eight species of pomacentrid reef fish under the ESA was received from the Center for Biological Diversity.
For more information, please visit our Reef Fish page.
On October 31, 2012, a petition to list the humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) under the ESA was received from WildEarth Guardians. For more information, please visit our humphead wrasse page.
Additional information about humphead wrasse can be found on NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources page here.
Great Hammerhead Shark
A December 21, 2012, petition and a March 15, 2013, petition to list the great hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) under the ESA were received from WildEarth Guardians and Natural Resources Defense Council, respectively.
For more information, please visit our Great Hammerhead Shark page.
On December 21, 2012, a petition to list the whale shark (Rhincodon typus) as either endangered or threatened under the ESA was received from WildEarth Guardians.
For more information, please visit our Whale Shark page.
On April 17, 2013, a petition to classify the North Pacific humpback whale population as a distinct population segment (DPS) and delist the DPS under the ESA was received from the Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition, Inc. On February 26, 2014, a second petition was received from the State of Alaska to list the Central North Pacific humpback whale population as a DPS and delist the DPS under the ESA.
For more information, please visit our Humpback Whale page.
81 Multi Species
On July 15, 2013, a petition to list 81 marine species or populations under the ESA was received from WildEarth Guardians.
For more information, please visit our 81 multi species page.
Common Thresher Shark
On August 26, 2014, we received a petition from Friends of Animals to list the common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) under the ESA.
For more information, please visit our common thresher shark page.
Bigeye Thresher Shark
On April 27, 2015, we received a petition from Defenders of Wildlife to list the bigeye thresher shark (Alopias superciliosus) under the ESA.
For more information, please visit our bigeye thresher shark page.
Smooth Hammerhead Shark
On April 27, 2015, we received a petition from Defenders of Wildlife to list the smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) under the ESA.
For more information, please visit our smooth hammerhead shark page.
Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requires the Federal government to designate critical habitat for any species it lists under the ESA. These areas have physical and biological features that are necessary for the species to survive and recover to a healthy population. In turn, the ESA prohibits any changes or "destruction or adverse modification" to these areas (as a result of federally funded or authorized activities) that will diminish its value as important habitat for the survival and recovery of the species. For more information on critical habitat, please see the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources' ESA Section 4 Critical Habitat page: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/criticalhabitat.htm.
Hawaiian Monk Seal
A July 9th, 2008 petition to revise designated critical habitat for the Hawaiian monk seal was received from three conservation groups. The 12-month finding announcing our intention to revise Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat was published in the Federal Register on June 12th, 2009 (74 FR 27988). On June 2, 2011 NOAA Fisheries announced the proposed revision to Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat in the Federal Register. On (insert date of final rule publication) NOAA Fisheries announced a final rule revising Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat.
For more information on the Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat revision, please visit our Critical Habitat page here.
- Petition to Revise Critical Habitat for the Hawaiian Monk Seal (pdf 757.49 kB)
- 90-day Finding (pdf 54.71 kB)
- 12-Month Finding (pdf 74.75 kB)
- Proposed Rule to Revise Hawaiian Monk Seal Critical Habitat (pdf 1.08 MB)
- Insert link to FR HERE!!!
Section 4(f) of the ESA requires NOAA Fisheries to develop and implement recovery plans for ESA-listed species. For information on the Hawaiian monk seal Recovery Plan, please visit our Hawaiian Monk Seal page: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/prd_hms_index.html.
Other ESA Section 4 Activities
The ESA Section 4 Program also includes Species of Concern. For information on the Pacific Islands Region's Species of Concern, please visit our Species of Concern page: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/prd_species_of_concern.html.