Bay Area Humpback Whales Still In Danger, Despite Government Classifications

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Humpback whales have made such a comeback that most of them are being taken off the Endangered Species list, but not the ones we see off the California coast.

The federal government says most humpback whales are no longer in danger, so they will no longer be protected by the Endangered Species Act.

Angela Somma with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that doesn’t mean you can bother them.

“Many of the day to day protections and activities will continue to work, and maintain their protection under the Marine Mammals Act,” Somma told KCBS.

Humpbacks in Hawaii have recovered spectacularly. The ones who frequent Northern California are still either endangered or threatened, depending on whether they come from Mexico, or the even smaller Central American population.

Katherina Audley at the Oceanic Society studies these humpbacks in Mexico, and says even so, the end of whaling has led to an astonishing comeback.

“You had to work to get out and see a whale – you travel all the way out to the Farallons, and maybe see a blow. And now, you can go to the same place, and you’ll see blue whales, you’ll see humpback whales, grey whales, and you’ll see many of them,” Audley said.


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