The Biden Administration took a significant step to protect humpback whales. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NFMS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Commerce departments have finalized a rule to protect ocean habitats used by humpback whales.

Humpback whales were once hunted to the brink of extinction and now two of the five “breeding stocks” of humpback whales are listed under the Endangered Species Act. These groups live off the coast of the western United States where they are impacted by commercial fishing and ships. This rule helps limit dangerous outside activities and protect these whales.

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Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, and Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, wrote in their joint blog on the topic, “This is a commonsense protection, but it has been a long time coming. For decades, even after whaling ceased, humpback whales have faced challenges to their survival, ranging from ship strikes to warming oceans and climate change.”

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, 116,098 square nautical miles will now be designated as critical habitat. “Pacific humpbacks finally got the habitat protections they’ve needed for so long. Now we need to better protect humpbacks from ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear, their leading causes of death,” said Catherine Kilduff, an attorney with the Center. “To recover West Coast populations of these playful, majestic whales, we need mandatory ship speed limits and conversion of California’s deadly trap fisheries to ropeless gear.”

Source: Netflix/YouTube

Read more about whales in One Green Planet, including the two beluga whales brought to a sanctuarymilitary sonar exercise linked to beached whaleshypersonic weapons testing affecting killer whalesover 100 beached whales saved by rescuers; whales, dolphins, and porpoises face the unprecedented risk of extinction;  and humpback whale trapped in fishing gear.

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