POLL: Should Humpback Whales Be Removed From the Endangered Species List in 2014?

POLL: Should Humpback Whales Be Removed From the Endangered Species List in 2014?

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After being almost hunted to extinction, Humpback whales were added to the U.S. list of endangered species in 1988. Adults can be 40-50 feet long and weigh around 80,000lbs!

They are a baleen whale, which means that they filter their food with baleen plates rather than eat it with teeth. North Pacific humpback whales came particularly close to extinction, with an estimated population of just 1,500 before the ban took place.

Since then, they went from “endangered” to “vulnerable” in 1996, and with a current population estimated around 18,000-20,000, some are calling for the species to be removed from the protection list altogether.

On one hand, it’s a victory. Efforts by conservationists have helped the species rebound to a more viable population. But on the other hand, any decision about removal from the US endangered species list must be taken very carefully. A premature removal of this extra protection could have negative consequences.

The Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance is the main group that has been asking for North Pacific humpback whales to be removed from the endangered species list:

The fishermen say they don’t want whaling to resume and aren’t asking to be allowed to hunt the whales. They’re also not trying to make it easier for them to catch fish, as they say the law’s protections for the whales don’t interfere with fishing.

Instead, the fishermen are acting after watching environmental conservation groups petition to add many more species to the endangered list in recent years, like dozens of corals, seven different damselfish and a rare called a false , said Philip Fernandez, the coalition’s president. The government should consider humpback whales for removal to maintain a balance, Fernandez said.

“You cannot add species after species after species without evaluating whether there are species that should come off,” the West Hawaii fisherman told The Associated Press by telephone from Kailua-Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island.(source)

The last time that a species’ recovery led to a removal from the list was in 1994, when delisted the Eastern North Pacific population of gray whales.

We should know in 2014 if the North Pacific humpback joins this select club.

We invite you to vote FOR or AGAINST the removal of Humpback Whales from the Endangered Species List in 2014. Even if you’re not from the US, please vote and also leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should Humpback Whales Be Removed From the Endangered Species List in 2014?

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The editorial content of this article was written by Michael Graham Richard for Treehugger.com. Lead Image: , breaching, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary – Photo by Whit Welles Wwelles14.


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Michele Jankelow

A chilling thought! Can you begin to imagine what savagery will take place in the ocean! Man has lost it all for money!

Malinda Botchuck

It is too soon to take them off. Look at the issue with the gray wolf.

Susan Lee

Why not simply leave all cetaceans off ALL hunting lists. We've already endangered all of life as it is with our human pollutings of garbage, oil spills, radiation leaks and more ad nauseum.

Wai Ling  Liu

Please don't remove whales from the endangered species list in 2014, their population is decline and danger , we need real health marine mammal ecosystem , stop and end killing whales , protect endangered whales is important and necessary , thanks


In my view all cetaceans should be on protected species lists which would largely conform with the almost universal hunting bans. This would be equivalent to our bat species in Europe that are all protected by European law whether or not individual species are rare and endangered.

Bjorn Olesen
Bjorn Olesen

The species on the endangered species list should be determined on a scientific basis, and not by the 'bambi' factor, ie whether people relate to it or not. I have confidence that this can be determined on a valid basis by IUCN.