whaling-station.jpg

Abandoned whaling stations are a symbol of policy chance in the past - in this case, when commercial whaling was made illegal.

Current federal efforts

 

5-year review

The Endangered Species Act requires a review of endangered species every 5 years. The latest one was completed in 2017. It found that the North Pacific right whale maintains its status as a critically endangered species and that more data are needed to predict the risk of extinction. 

stock assessment 

NOAA completes population reports each year for all marine mammals in U.S. waters. The 2019 Eastern North Pacific right whale report stated that a low estimate for the population is likely 26 whales and there is no increasing or decreasing trend for this population because we have so little data. It also specifies that while no human-caused death or injury has been recorded between 2013 and 2017, this is probably because of the remote habitat and it’s possible that this doesn’t reflect the circumstances these whales are in.

Recovery plan

In 2013 NOAA released a recovery plan for the North Pacific right whale. The primary goal of this plan is to gather more data on this whale, since it is hard to build policy off the amount of data that currently exists. It also states that the greatest threat to the eastern population is its small population size; if even just a few whales die, then the risk of extinction increases. You can see the status of specific actions in this recovery plan here.

International efforts

North Pacific right whales are labeled as endangered under the  International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The eastern Pacific population even received their own designation as critically endangered (a step more serious than endangered) in 2018. The IUCN lists that we need more research on this species’ population size and trends, life history, and threats. Conservation actions should center around species management and recovery.