Some scientists believe there may be too many whales for the population to sustain itself. Others say this explanation of “overcapacity” and “natural causes” overlooks the gantlet of hazards that grays now face — including ecosystem alteration, ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, plastics pollution, disease, ocean acidification and loss of kelp forests.
Threats to the species include energy exploration and development, oil spills and clean up efforts, vessel strikes, human noise and entanglement in fishing gear. There are less than 100 of the whales left in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico near the De Soto canyon, where the population resides.
Herring are important economically because they serve as key bait for the lobster and tuna industries. They’re also used as food for human consumption. But perhaps most important, the fish is a critical part of the marine ecosystem because it serves as food for whales, seals and large fish.
Also, it seems like every consecutive generation is called upon to once again Save the Whales (and Flipper). Donald Trump’s budget would also eliminate the only independent federal agency dedicated solely to protecting our fellow mammals who live and dwell in and on the sea including: whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, sea otters, manatees, walruses and polar bears.
“There is tremendous potential for good here,” said Fred Collins, Administrator of the Northern
Chumash Tribal Council. “A Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary will preserve and recognize
the importance of our tribal history, safeguard our shared coastal resources, and open new doors
for research and economic growth. We hope to move forward to designation as soon as possible.”