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Friday, June 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘Have Ye Seen the Great Whales?’

WASHINGTON (CN) - The federal government refuses to implement a strategy to protect three species of "great whales" from extinction, including the sperm whale, though the whales have been on the endangered species list since 1973, WildEarth Guardians claims in Federal Court. The sperm whale is the iconic species immortalized in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick."

WildEarth Guardians says Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke is required to develop and implement recovery plans for the whales, under the Endangered Species Act.

The great whales are threatened by "collisions with vessels, entanglement in fishing gear, reduced prey abundance due to overfishing, habitat degradation, disturbance from low-frequency noise, illegal whaling, whaling by some nations for allegedly scientific purposes, or the resumption of commercial whaling."

The government is legally obligated to create a plan to help the species recover, but nothing has been done but drafts of the plans, according to the complaint.

The group seeks a declaration that the government failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act, and an injunction requiring Locke implement a strategy that would aid in the recover of the Sperm, Fin and Sei whales by a reasonable date.

Wildearth Guardians is represented by Robert Ukeiley of Berea, Ky.

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