Threats Remain for Humpback Whales
Humpback whales are magnificent creatures that have graced our oceans for millions of years. As recently as 1988, humpback whales were listed as endangered. They were nearly driven to extinction by commercial whalers. Humans hunted humpbacks for oil, meat, and baleen. Thanks to an international ban on whaling in 1986, humpback whales are making a slow but steady recovery.
Japan has continued to hunt whales legally in the Southern ocean every winter for what they claim is "scientific research". Even though very little scientific value comes from these hunts and most of the meat ends up on commercial sale.
Now they wish to push further! Japan has plans to formally propose to resume commercial whaling to the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Since some whale populations have increased enough to no longer be deemed as endangered.
Than ban on commercial whaling is one of the biggest success stories in species conservation! Hopefully their proposal will not succeed.
Humpbacks still face many insistent threats including ocean debris, increasing shipping traffic, entaglement of fishing debris, off shore oil developments and the effects of climate change. Fingers crossed that the future will be bright for these beautiful gentle giants, whose voices are ethereal melodies of the sea.