Effort to Protect Atlantic Humpback Dolphin Under ESA Advances

In September 2021, AWI, along with the Center for Biological Diversity and VIVA Vaquita, petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to list the Atlantic humpback dolphin as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Fewer than 3,000 of these dolphins remain, in small, discontinuous populations along the west coast of Africa.

photo by Tilen Genov, Conservation Consortium for the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin
photo by Tilen Genov, CCAHD

A listing under the ESA could raise the profile of this little-known species, make more funding available for essential research to scientists working with Atlantic humpback dolphin populations, and foster international cooperation to improve conservation efforts. NMFS made a positive 90-day finding on our petition, triggering a year-long status review. Meanwhile, an international group of biologists and others have formed the Consortium for the Conservation of the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin (CCAHD), which has made good progress with field studies and stakeholder engagement efforts. NMFS consulted extensively with CCAHD during its status review and issued a proposed rule to list the species as endangered in April. Following the comment period, which ended June 6, NMFS will have until April 2024 to make a final decision.

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