Scientists and environmental groups are urging the government not to remove humpback whales from Australia’s list of endangered species due to growing threats such as the climate crisis.
The federal government is considering delisting humpback whales, which are classified as vulnerable under national environmental law. Recovery of population after whaling..
Government discussion papers estimate that whaling has reduced the population of humpback whales off eastern Australia from 26,133 to 200 to 500 by 1962.
In Western Australia, the population of 21,686 is estimated to have declined to 800-1,000.
The treatise suggests that the population has returned to its original size after an annual increase of 10-11%, but scientists have expressed concern that some of the data used is out of date. doing.
Scientist submitted to Public consultation According to the process, the threat facing whales is “much more complex than whaling today.”
Olaf Meynecke, a marine scientist at Griffith University, said: threat Habitat degradation, pollution, underwater noise, and boat collisions were included.
He said the biggest threat is ocean acidification and ocean heating due to climate change, which could threaten the survival of humpback whales by reducing the population of krill they depend on for food.
“There are a variety of threats, and we have already documented that humpback whales are unaffected by these threats,” says Meynecke.
“If you are removed from the list of endangered species, you need to make a plan to keep them safe.”
Humpback whale extermination was proposed by the Independent Endangered Species Scientific Committee in 2018. This committee is currently conducting an evaluation before recommending it to the Minister of the Environment.
According to Meynecke, the United States delisted humpback whale populations in 2016, but before that, it established a surveillance program to detect future declines.
He said a similar program should be implemented if Australia decides to remove humpback whale protection.
“Early detection of population changes enables more aggressive conservation strategies,” he said.
Humane Society International, which has successfully nominated many species for protection under national law, has decided to reject the delisting proposal after the Commission considers the expected population decline as a result of climate change. He said he wanted.
“Scientists have modeled the continuous recovery of humpback whales in the short term, but population is projected to decline sharply under the current climate change trajectory,” said HSI’s Australian program director. One Nikola Bynon says.
“It would be short-sighted to downlist humpback whales in the face of deepening threats.”
Beynon added that there is further uncertainty about how a strong interest in krill fishing in Antarctica is managed and how well it takes into account the needs of whales.
Environment Minister Susan Ray said the restoration of humpback whale populations was “one of the most important demonstrations of national and international species conservation efforts.”
She said she would retain other protections under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, including migratory species, regardless of whether a decision was made to exclude the species.
Public submissions are closed in late March and the Commission must provide advice to Ray until October 30th.
Australia has warned that humpback whales are still at risk as the government moves to remove them from the list of endangered species.Whale
Source link Australia has warned that humpback whales are still at risk as the government moves to remove them from the list of endangered species.Whale