There’s added firepower behind the campaign to remove humpback whales from the federal endangered species list, according to an article in today’s Maui News. Since 1970, the U.S. government has recognized that the population of the whales was dwindling and precarious. But today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that’s changed.
“Since then, NOAA Fisheries has worked nationally and internationally with many partners to put into place protective measures,” said Donna Wieting, director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Protected Resources, in an Apr. 20 conference call, according to The Maui News. “We’re seeing today these efforts to conserve and protect pay off and most of these populations growing at steady rates and looking healthy.”
This is still just one part of a very long process. It’s also not particularly surprising. Two years ago, I wrote about Phil Fernandez, a Hawaii fisherman–and valued member of NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary–who originally started the petition to get the humpbacks delisted. Then, as today, local whale activists cried foul.
“We should celebrate when animals come off the list, like the bald eagle,” Greg Kaufman, founder and president of the Pacific Whale Foundation, told me for that story. “When we successfully de-list an animal, we see what has happened to allow them to sustain themselves. With whales, we have increasing problems with marine debris and ship strikes–these things are increasing. You won’t find a scientist who says oceans have less noise or debris today.”
Click here for The Maui News‘ story.
Click here for my 2013 story on Fernandez.