The purpose of the revisions to the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) that are under consideration is to conserve and provide additional protection to Atlantic large whales, including North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis), North Atlantic humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), and fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus). Such revisions would fulfill NMFS ' obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). The need for the revisions under consideration is demonstrated by the continuing risk to Atlantic large whales of serious injury or mortality due to entanglement in commercial fishing gear. This chapter describes in detail the purpose and need for revisions to the existing ALWTRP. It is organized as follows: Section 2.1 provides an overview of the statutory and regulatory context in which the ALWTRP was created. This section includes descriptions of the MMPA and the ESA, and discusses how the ALWTRP allows the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to fulfill its obligations under both Acts. Section 2.2 summarizes the existing ALWTRP. Section 2.3 presents historical data on large whale entanglements, and demonstrates the need for additional action under the ALWTRP. 2.1 STATUTORY AND REGULATORY CONTEXT Right, humpback, and fin whales are protected by the MMPA and the ESA. The ALWTRP was created in response to provisions of the MMPA, and under its authority. Sections 2.1.1 and 2.1.2 describe the protections that the MMPA and ESA provide for Atlantic large whales, and the requirements of the MMPA that led to the creation of the ALWTRP
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