Humpback whales are truly amazing creatures. They can weigh between 50,000 and 80,000 pounds (22,680 to 36,287 kgs) and can live roughly 50 years. But what’s most amazing is that the entire north Pacific population has been estimated at nearly 22,000 (the central north stock is just under 6,000 whales), having grown from about 1,000 in the late 1990s!
This growth in population and the existing regulations to protect the migratory mammals (humpbacks have been federally protected for more than 40 years), has lead to a petition asked by federal fisheries managers to scrap the “endangered” classification of the central north Pacific population of humpbacks under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA).
After all thesefindings, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) said in a statement that,
“Substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.”
However, NOAA will conduct roughly year-long reviews of the central north Pacific and entire North Pacific populations, to project population growth rates and threats, such as fishing gear and potential ship strikes before taking a decision whether to de-list the whales, reduce their status to “threatened,” or take no action at all.
Doug Vincent-Lanf, an Alaska wildlife conservation official and in favor of the proposal, claimed that:
“Simply put, humpbacks no longer need ESA protection. They should be removed and effort focused on species needing protection.”