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tins of whale meat

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Are humpback whales still endangered?

Saturday, April 18th was the perfect weather day to venture out to see some of the Gulf of Maine’s most majestic seasonal residents. Recently back from the warm, tropical waters of the West Indies and Caribbean, these humpback whales are part of our Whale Adoption Project family.  We look forward to greeting them each spring as they return, hungry from a winter of mating and migrating and living off their blubber stores.  Through the squawking of gulls and diving gannets, we found nearly 20 humpback whales grouped together on the southwest corner of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, voraciously feeding on tiny fish.   What a great day, as you can see from the video. 

Less than 48 hours later, we were alerted that the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Agency charged with protecting marine mammals, proposed to remove most humpback whales from the US Endangered Species Act. It didn’t take long for the media to pick up on it and reactions from conservation groups were mixed. Some seemed elated to celebrate the success of the Endangered Species Act while others, including WDC, were dismayed.  WDC does not support the removal of protections from populations of whales that have still not recovered, including Gulf of Maine humpbacks.  

The NMFS’s own data indicate that Gulf of Maine humpback whales are being seriously injured or killed by human impacts at a rate at least four times higher than the population can sustain to recover.  The NMFS references research indicating that most Gulf of Maine humpback whales have been entangled in fishing gear. They cite studies that show that the growth rate for this population has slowed.  Even more disturbing, they acknowledge that the population growth rate is not higher than the rate at which these whales are dying from entanglements in fishing gear, never mind those that die from vessel strikes.  Even still, they are proposing to remove their status as an Endangered Species. 

Over the next month, WDC will be reading the details of this proposal and combing through our library of scientific reports to provide a well-informed, detailed response

Gulf of Maine humpbacks have not yet fully recovered from whaling, vessel strikes, entanglements and pollution.  Human interactions continue to jeopardize these whales, but human actions can save them. Stay informed on this issue. We will be asking for your help to give these whales a voice and we thank you in advance for all that you have already done on their behalf!  

 

Saturday, April 18th was the perfect weather day to venture out to see some of the Gulf of Maine’s most majestic seasonal residents. Recently back from the warm, tropical waters of the West Indies and Caribbean, these humpback whales are part of our Whale Adoption Project family.  We look forward to greeting them each spring as they return, hungry from a winter of mating and migrating and living off their blubber stores.  Through the squawking of gulls and diving gannets, we found nearly 20 humpback whales grouped together on the southwest corner of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, voraciously feeding on tiny fish.   What a great day, as you can see from the video. 

Less than 48 hours later, we were alerted that the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the Agency charged with protecting marine mammals, proposed to remove most humpback whales from the US Endangered Species Act. It didn’t take long for the media to pick up on it and reactions from conservation groups were mixed. Some seemed elated to celebrate the success of the Endangered Species Act while others, including WDC, were dismayed.  WDC does not support the removal of protections from populations of whales that have still not recovered, including Gulf of Maine humpbacks.  

The NMFS’s own data indicate that Gulf of Maine humpback whales are being seriously injured or killed by human impacts at a rate at least four times higher than the population can sustain to recover.  The NMFS references research indicating that most Gulf of Maine humpback whales have been entangled in fishing gear. They cite studies that show that the growth rate for this population has slowed.  Even more disturbing, they acknowledge that the population growth rate is not higher than the rate at which these whales are dying from entanglements in fishing gear, never mind those that die from vessel strikes.  Even still, they are proposing to remove their status as an Endangered Species. 

Over the next month, WDC will be reading the details of this proposal and combing through our library of scientific reports to provide a well-informed, detailed response

Gulf of Maine humpbacks have not yet fully recovered from whaling, vessel strikes, entanglements and pollution.  Human interactions continue to jeopardize these whales, but human actions can save them. Stay informed on this issue. We will be asking for your help to give these whales a voice and we thank you in advance for all that you have already done on their behalf!  

 April 18 2015

About Regina Asmutis-silvia

Executive director - WDC North America