Fishermen: Take whale off endangered list
HONOLULU — A group of Hawaii fishermen is asking the federal government to remove northern Pacific humpback whales from the endangered species list, saying the population has steadily grown since the international community banned commercial whaling nearly 50 years ago.
Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance for Conservation and Tradition Inc., a coalition of fishing clubs and groups from across the islands, filed a petition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last month.
There are more than 21,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific today, compared with about 1,400 in the mid-1960s.
More than half spend the winter breeding and calving in Hawaii's warm waters. The animals, known for acrobatic leaps and complex singing patterns, have become a major draw for tourists and support a thriving whale-watching industry in Hawaii. Other North Pacific humpbacks winter off Mexico, Central America, Japan and the Philippines.
In the summer, they migrate to feed on krill and fish in waters off Alaska, Canada and Russia.
The fishermen say they don't want whaling to resume and aren't asking to be allowed to hunt the whales. They're also not trying to make it easier for them to catch fish, as they say the law's protections for the whales don't interfere with fishing.
Instead, the fishermen are acting after watching environmental conservation groups petition to add many more species to the endangered list in recent years, like dozens of corals, seven different damselfish and a rare dolphin called a false killer whale, said Philip Fernandez, the coalition's president. The government should consider humpback whales for removal to maintain a balance, Fernandez said.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.