April 29, 2021 — American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization, is applauding the recent final rule, issued by the Biden administration, protecting 116,098 square nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean as critical habitat for three populations of endangered humpback whales. This critical rule will protect whales from ship strikes, entanglements with fishing nets and oil spills.
“Humpback whales inspire wonder and magic in all who see them,” said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane. “Who among us wouldn’t grieve to know that those mighty, beautiful creatures who so delighted us for eons could be gone forever, never to be experienced again by us, our children or any human being? This move from the Biden administration will give Pacific humpbacks critical habitat protection, helping us fight the war on extinction.”
The population of humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean shrank significantly in the 20th century, as the whaling industry and widespread hunting led to a 90 percent reduction in the population from historic levels. In 1996, when there were approximately only 5,000 humpback whales left across the globe, the International Whaling Commission issued a moratorium on the hunting of humpback whales. Their population has rebounded because of conservation efforts; however, the whales are still threatened by oil spills, ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements.
The new designated critical habitat for the Central America, Mexico, and Western North Pacific Distinct Population Segments of Humpback Whales will help safeguard ocean areas essential for migrating and feeding. The designation will ensure that federally permitted activities do not destroy or harm important whale habitat. Evidence shows that endangered or threatened species that have protected critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as those without it. The rule becomes effective on May 21, 2021.
“Federal protection is essential to counter-fight the wholesale disappearance of species in our forests and oceans, described by scientists and journalists as the ongoing ‘Sixth Mass Extinction.’ Similar efforts to protect the habitat of other animals will help preserve millions of species on the verge of disappearing forever,” stated Dr. Ganzert.
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization. Founded in 1877, American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals, and our leadership programs are first to serve in promoting and nurturing the bonds between animals and people. For more information or to support our work, please visit www.americanhumane.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.