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9 Humpback Whale Populations Removed From Endangered Species List

Nine of the 14 distinct humpback whale populations are no longer endangered.
September 16, 2016

9 Humpback Whale Populations Removed From Endangered Species List

Nine of fourteen humpback whale populations have been removed from the endangered species list, according to a recent report from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This triumph is being celebrated by conservationists and nature lovers the world over, not just for what it means for the whales, but because it proves that all our conservation efforts are changing the world.

Maui whale watching tours are among the most popular activities that visitors enjoy, so on top of all the other great things about this recovery, it's good for the economy too. Perhaps this success will add momentum to worldwide conservation efforts. We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go, so we have to keep it up. It took 40 years for conservation measures to get humpback populations to this level, and some of those populations still need help. Out of 14 total distinct populations, four are still protected as endangered and one is listed as threatened.

The reason for the initial decline of humpback whale numbers was, not surprisingly, commercial whaling. Humpbacks were listed as endangered in 1970, when it became painfully clear that their numbers were failing. At that time, NOAA Fisheries sprang into action to protect them on a national and international scale. It's a good thing they did. The International Whaling Commission placed a moratorium on whaling in 1982, which also played a big role in humpback recovery.

Although some of the humpback populations are no longer endangered, protections remain in place. In fact, two regulations were recently filed to maintain protections for whales in Alaska and here in Hawaii. These regulations specify distance limits for approaching vessels in order to help ensure the whales' safety. We observe such laws with the utmost care, as you'll know if you've ever been on one of our Maui whale watch tours in the past. If you'd like to join us on one of these tours in the future, you don't have long to wait. Whale watching season is just a couple of months away!

Blogs for September 2016

Grey Reef Shark Pups Born at Maui Ocean Center

Posted on September 30, 2016
Grey Reef Shark Pups Born at Maui Ocean Center


Photo Courtesy of Maui Ocean Project: mauioceancenter.com

If you love marine life, you may be excited to hear that three grey reef shark pups were very recently born at the Maui Ocean Center in the 750,000 gallon Open Ocean exhibit.… Continue Reading

Scientists Explore Cook Seamount in Hawaii

Posted on September 23, 2016
Scientists Explore Cook Seamount in Hawaii

Intrepid explorers from the University of Hawaii and the nonprofit group Conservation International have recently been to Cook seamount, a previously unexplored extinct volcano located at a depth of 3,000 feet about 100 miles southwest of the Big Island. They found many fascinating… Continue Reading

9 Humpback Whale Populations Removed From Endangered Species List

Posted on September 16, 2016
9 Humpback Whale Populations Removed From Endangered Species List

Nine of fourteen humpback whale populations have been removed from the endangered species list, according to a recent report from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This triumph is being celebrated by conservationists and nature lovers the world over,… Continue Reading

New Hawaiian Fish Species Discovered

Posted on September 09, 2016
New Hawaiian Fish Species Discovered

A beautiful new Hawaiian fish was recently discovered within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, and it has been named Tosanoides Obama Pyle. The fish was named after the president in gratitude for his decision to expand the monument, which we discussed last week. Also,… Continue Reading

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Expanded

Posted on September 02, 2016
Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument Expanded

The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the uninhabited northwestern Hawaiian islands has just been expanded by President Obama, according to an announcement from the White House. The monument was neither doubled, nor tripled, but quadrupled from 139,797 square miles to 582,578 square miles, which… Continue Reading

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