Response Statements

Response Statement - Humpback Whale, North Pacific population

Although this recovering population is no longer considered to be Threatened, it is not yet secure. It was depleted by commercial whaling but has increased substantially since becoming legally protected from whaling in 1966. A basin-wide study in 2004-2006 resulted in an estimated abundance of 18,000 animals (not including first-year calves) in the North Pacific and an estimated rate of increase of 4.9 to 6.8%/year. Research conducted between 2004-06 indicated that about 2,145 whales (not including first-year calves) were present seasonally in British Columbia waters where they were increasing at around 4%/year. Current numbers are still considerably smaller than the minimum of 4,000 animals that must have been present off the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1905 given the numbers removed by whaling in the early 1900’s. This population in the eastern North Pacific continues to face several threats including noise disturbance, habitat degradation (especially on the breeding grounds), entanglement in fishing gear or debris, and ship strikes.   


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