Protected Resources

False Killer Whale

Youngmi Choi ©SPC

Scientific name: Pseudorca crassidens

Stock Assessment / Estimated Breeding Population

Stock information and maps of ranges

For the most recent final Stock Assessment Report (SAR), please visit: NOAA Fisheries - Office of Protected Resources - Marine Mammal SAR, Small Cetaceans

For the most recent draft Pacific SAR, please visit: NOAA Fisheries – Office of Protected Resources – Draft Marine Mammal SAR

Current Management Issues

Take Reduction Plan

False Killer Whale Take Reduction Plan to address the incidental mortality and serious injury of false killer whales in Hawaii's commercial longline fisheries.

For more information, please see the False Killer Whale Take Reduction Team and Plan webpage


Endangered Species Listing

Petition to List as an Endangered Species: On October 1, 2009, NOAA Fisheries (also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service) received a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council to list the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale (Pseudorca crassidens) as an endangered species and designate critical habitat to ensure its recovery pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended. We consider the Hawaiian insular population, Hawaiian insular stock, and the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale to be synonymous.

Note that the main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale is separate from both the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands false killer whale and the Hawaii pelagic false killer whale.

90-day finding on the Petition to List the Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whale:
On January 5, 2010, NOAA Fisheries announced in the Federal Register a finding that a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to list the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale as endangered presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.

Status Review of the Species:
NOAA Fisheries then initiated a status review of the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale to determine if listing under the ESA was warranted. In August 2010 the NOAA Fisheries false killer whale Biological Review Team completed the following status review report of the species:

12-month Finding/Proposed Listing Rule:
NOAA Fisheries completed a comprehensive status review of the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale under the ESA. After reviewing the best scientific and commercial information available, we determined that the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale is a distinct population segment (DPS) that qualifies as a species under the ESA. Moreover, after evaluating threats facing the DPS, and considering efforts being made to protect the Main Hawaiian Islands insular DPS, we determined that the DPS is declining and is in danger of extinction throughout its range. On November 17, 2010, we announced in the Federal Register that we proposed to list the DPS as endangered under the ESA.

Notice of Availability of New Information:
In light of newly available information, we reconvened the Biological Review Team and requested a reevaluation of the DPS determination. Additionally, we published a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register (77 FR 57554) announcing the existence of this new information and opened a 15-day public comment period pertaining to the new information. 

The new information we considered is as follows:

Following review of the Biological Review Team’s reevaluation of the DPS designation and public comments, we concluded that the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale is still a DPS because it is both discrete and significant to the taxon. 

Main Hawaiian Islands Insular False Killer Whales DPS Listed as Endangered
On November 28, 2012, NOAA Fisheries published a final rule to list the Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale as an endangered distinct population segment under the ESA. Note that the main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whale is separate from both the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands false killer whale and the Hawaii pelagic false killer whale.

Range

Range of Insular False Killer Whales

Range of Insular False Killer Whales

Natural History

Physical Description

Potential Threats

Important Phone Numbers

Marine Mammal Stranding/Entanglement Hotline: 1-888-245-9840

More Information