Some environmental groups say they’ve reached a settlement in a lawsuit with the federal government which could lead to new protections for humpback whales off our coast. As a result of the deal, the federal government is proposing to designate more than 300,000 square nautical miles of the Pacific Ocean as critical habitat for the whales.
The designation would offer new protections against things like accidental ship strikes, and entanglement in fishing gear. Two humpback populations in the Pacific are listed as endangered, and a third is classified as being threatened.
The proposal includes nearly 50,000 square miles of habitat off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington. A coalition of organizations including the Ventura based Wishtoyo Foundation sought the action. The settlement calls for a public review of the proposal, and final action by September of 2020.