NOAA issues rule protecting habitat for false killer whales

HONOLULU — A federal agency will designate waters around Hawaii as protected critical habitat for endangered false killer whales.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports about 17,500 square miles (45,300 square kilometers) of ocean habitat will be protected under a new rule by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

The rule was published Tuesday in the Federal Register and goes into effect Aug. 23.

The waters around the state host about 150 false killer whales, which are actually members of the dolphin family.

The Center for Biological Diversity has been advocating for protection of the species. Brett Hartl, the center’s government affairs director, says the habitat designation is a step in right direction and a “very useful tool to help get a species on the path to recovery.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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