Science should determine endangered status

Five men calling themselves the Hawaii Fishermen’s Alliance for Conservation and Tradition have filed a petition with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration asking that North Pacific humpbacks be declared a distinct population as the first step in removing them from the endangered species list (The Maui News, May 4).

They said they came forward after watching other groups petition to add species to the endangered species list, and that the government should consider humpback whales for removal to maintain a balance.

This group was just formed. This is its first public move after announcing that it exists and asking for members. It has a website with no information, and has captured attention by claiming to represent Hawaii fishermen.

All of a sudden there is this bat out of nowhere petitioning to remove the whales from the endangered species list because species shouldn’t be added without taking some off.

Not science – just a press release. Species are added because they are endangered. Delisting humpbacks opens the way to resume hunting, as the whalers can cite their removal as proof the population is no longer endangered.

Whale watching contributes significantly to the economy of our islands. Who wants to come and watch whales if they are no longer endangered?

Please write NOAA requesting the humpbacks be kept on the endangered species list until there is firm science to prove that threats such as ocean pollution, acidification, global warming and loss of food sources do not threaten the health of the population.

Joana McIntyre Varawa

Lanai City