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Trump administration agrees to protect West Coast humpbacks

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    In this 2017 photo, a humpback whale breeches off Half Moon Bay, Calif. In a settlement with environmental groups, the Trump administration has agreed to designate critical Pacific Ocean habitat for endangered humpback whales.

SAN FRANCISCO >> In a settlement with environmental groups, the Trump administration has agreed to designate critical Pacific Ocean habitat for endangered humpback whales.

The animals face threats from getting tangled in fishing gear, oil spills and being struck by ships. Federal authorities have designated three groups of West Coast humpbacks as endangered or threatened.

The suit by the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Wishtoyo Foundation, a nonprofit that represents Native American tribes, was settled today in federal district court in San Francisco.

The National Marine Fisheries Service agreed to designate critical habitat for the animals by mid-2019 and finalize those boundaries a year later.

The environmental groups say endangered species with protected critical habitat are twice as likely to show signs of recovery as those without it.

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