first_img Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country Email Five of the iconic species’ populations will remain on the list because of their low numbers and continuing threats.Whereas some conservationists were excited about the proposal last year, the final decision has left others dismayed.“Some humpbacks are on the road to recovery … but the job isn’t finished,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco, California, in a statement. “The plan may be a win for some populations, but for others, it is grossly inept,” adds Regina Asmutis-Silvia, a cetacean biologist with in Plymouth, Massachusetts. She and Monsell argue that the whales face increasing threats, particularly from ship strikes and entanglement in commercial fishing gear.NOAA, however, says that all humpbacks—even those removed from the list—are safe because of other federal regulations and protections provided by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. In addition, they note, an international ban on commercial whaling remains in place. Uncontrolled whaling, which ended in 1966, brought the humpback and other large cetaceans to the edge of extinction.Under the new decision, humpback populations in the Arabian Sea, Cape Verde Islands/Northwest Africa, western north Pacific, and Central America remain listed as endangered. The Mexico population, which feeds off California, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska, has been downlisted to threatened. NOAA had hoped it was sufficiently recovered to remove from the list, but discovered that there are only about 3200 animals in this population, about half of what scientists thought.Humpback whale populations in the West Indies, Hawaii, Brazil, Gabon/Southwest Africa, southeast Africa/Madagascar, west Australia, east Australia, Oceania, and the Southeastern Pacific are considered recovered and are off the list. “They are no longer at risk of extinction,” Somma said. Still, NOAA intends to monitor these populations for the next decade to ensure their continued success. The U.S. government announced Tuesday that it has removed most humpback whales from the federal endangered species list, saying that they have fully recovered in the last 46 years. The move marks “a true ecological success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) assistant administrator for fisheries in Silver Spring, Maryland, in a 6 September statement.The plan has been in the works for more than a year. Previously, NOAA regarded all humpback whales as a single population. Under the new plan, the whales will be classified into 14 distinct population segments, and the fate of each considered separately.Nine of these populations, including whales that breed in Hawaii, Australia, and the West Indies, are now regarded as sufficiently recovered and no longer in need of the protection under the Endangered Species Act. The decision to remove these populations was “based on the best available scientific information” and “extensive public comments,” said Angela Somma, chief of NOAA Fisheries’ endangered species division in Silver Spring, in a press conference yesterday.center_img Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Click to view the privacy policy. 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