The deadline has been extended for commenting on proposed federal whalewatching rules.
The National Marine Fisheries Service will take public comments through 5 p.m. Oct. 15 on its proposal to forbid people from approaching within 200 yards of humpback whales in Alaska.
The whales, which are an endangered species, feed in waters off Alaska in spring and summer.
The agency currently has voluntary guidelines for watching marine mammals that ask people to stay at least 100 yards away.
The proposed rule would not apply to certain commercial fishermen while they are actively fishing, but it affects all other mariners.
Written comments on the proposed rule should be sent to Mike Payne, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, Alaska 99802-1668. Comments also may be sent by fax to 907 586-7012. The proposed rule is on the agencys Web site: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/.
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