April 2, 2019
| Legal Document
On behalf of Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, we write to notify you of violations of section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), 16 U.S.C. § 1536, in connection with the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (“NMFS”) failure to reinitiate and complete consultations regarding the effects of its continued authorization of fisheries managed under the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (“HMS FMP”) on the oceanic whitetip shark and the giant manta ray. By failing to complete consultation, NMFS is failing to ensure that its activities do not jeopardize the continued existence of these species. Complying with the section 7 duty is particularly critical for these two species because NMFS has not extended substantive protections to the shark or manta ray under section 4(d) of the ESA.