HUMPBACKS MAKE A COMEBACK
Successful conservation efforts pay off for humpback whales
On September 6, 2016, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced in a press release the endangered humpback whales in nine of 14 newly identified distinct population segments have recovered enough that they don’t warrant listing under the Endangered Species Act.
International conservation efforts to protect and conserve whales over the past 40 years proved successful for most populations. Four of the distinct population segments are still protected as endangered, and one is now listed as threatened.
Commercial whaling severely reduced humpback whale numbers from historical levels, and the United States listed all humpback whales as endangered in 1970. NOAA Fisheries worked nationally and internationally to identify and apply protections for humpback whales. The International Whaling Commission’s whaling moratorium, imposed in 1982, played a major role in the comeback of humpback whales, and remains in effect.