Protected Resources

Humpback Whale

©FAO/FIGIS

Scientific name: Megaptera novaeangliae
Pacific Island names: koholā (Hawaiian), tafola (Samoan)

Stock Assessment / Estimated Breeding Population

For a current Stock Assessment Report (SAR), please visit: NOAA Fisheries - Office of Protected Resources - Marine Mammal SAR, Large Cetaceans, Central North Pacific Stock

Legal Protection

Natural History

Please see Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) website for details of Humpback whale natural history.

Potential Threats

Photo: Humpback whale with marine debris. HIHWNMS

Current Management Issues

Endangered Species Listing

Click here for more information including a map to see the distribution of the 14 identified humpback whale distinct population segments.


Permits and Incidental Take


Conservation Actions

Viewing Guidelines

  • Remain at least 100 yards from humpback whales, and at least 50 yards from other marine mammals.
  • Bring binoculars along on viewing excursions to assure a good view from the recommended viewing distances.
  • Limit your time observing to 1/2 hour.
  • Marine mammals should not be encircled or trapped between boats or shore.
  • If approached by a marine mammal while on a boat, put the engine in neutral and allow the animal to pass. Boat movement should be from the rear of the animal.

Important Phone Numbers

Marine Mammal Stranding/Entanglement Hotline: 1-888-256-9840

More Information