Some humpback whales could soon be coming off the endangered species list. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wants to reconsider whether all humpback whales should be on the endangered species list. Instead, the NOAA would consider each of the world’s 14 humpback whale populations individually. If that were the case, only two groups would be considered “endangered,” while two more would be “threatened.” The other 10 populations would be removed from the endangered list. The humpback whale has been on the endangered species list for 45 years. In that time, major efforts have helped to restore whale populations. If the 10 non-threatened groups were taken off the endangered list, fisheries could focus more on the endangered groups. Even if NOAA’s proposal is approved, the non-endangered whale populations would still be protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Photo of a jumping humpback whale by Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith/Flickr Creative Commons.