U.S. seeks comments on American eel protection as endangered species

ARLINGTON, Va. 9/28/11 (PennWell) - The American eel may need federal protection as a threatened or endangered species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced September 28, following an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The 90-day finding is based on scientific information about the eel provided in a 2010 petition from the Council for Endangered Species Act Reliability and in the Service’s files.

The Service will begin an extensive status review for the American eel to determine if adding the species to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife is warranted. A previous status review was conducted in 2007, finding that federal protection under the ESA was not warranted. The 2010 petition includes some information that became available after the 2007 review.

The Service is particularly seeking the following types of new information not known at the time of the 2007 status review: species’ population structure (panmixia); range-wide analysis of impacts from the parasitic nematode Anguillicola crassus; statistically significant long-term glass eel recruitment declines; and the correlation of climate change and glass eel recruitment.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Potral at www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. [FWS-R5-ES-2011-0067]. Comments must be received by Nov. 28.

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