If you’re like me, you had never heard of the Atlantic humpback dolphin until recently — but unfortunately, it’s for a horrible reason. This little known dolphin is on the very brink of extinction, with just 3,000 left in the wild. Luckily, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is considering listing them as protected under the Endangered Species Act. But for now, they are still just considering, in the midst of a status review. Until these dolphins are officially protected, we must apply pressure!
The threats to Atlantic humpback dolphins are almost entirely human-induced — the main one is an issue called “bycatch.” Fisheries use gillnets, basically vast walls of netting, to catch the fish species they can sell, but often other species get trapped and killed, too. Dying as bycatch is horrible — since they are mammals, these dolphins drown if they are tangled in nets and cannot surface to breathe. The synthetic material can also cut into their flesh and cause wounds and infection.
Luckily, because this and most other threats to the dolphins are human created, they can be fixed by humans too. Regulations, measures, and policies will make a major difference in the fight for these dolphins’ survival. But that’s only if we can get the right protections for these vulnerable creatures — and fast. Sign the petition telling the NMFS to protect Atlantic humpback dolphins before it’s too late!