In what seems like a rare bit of good news, NOAA just proposed removing humpback whales from the Endangered Species List due to recovered populations of the whales.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), humpback whale populations have recovered to the point where they may be removed from the Endangered Species List. This is due in large part to the fact that hunting of humpback whales in international waters has been severely restricted for the past 45 years.
Presently, there are estimated to be over 100,000 humpback whales all over the world. This is a significant increase from the estimated 5,000 whales remaining in 1966.
Under the current proposal, NOAA would divide the worldwide humpback whale population into 14 distinct groups. Of these, 10 would be removed from the Endangered Species List. Two populations in the Arabian Sea and off the Coast of Northwest Africa would remain on the list and two populations off the coast of Central America and in the Northwest Pacific Ocean would be listed as threatened.
Even though humpback whales may be removed from the Endangered Species List, they would still receive protection in the United States under the 1972 Marine Animals Protection Act and hunting of humpback whales would still be banned.