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Humpback whales have new protections after Trump administration settles with environmentalists

In this Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, file photo, a humpback whale breeches off Half Moon Bay, Calif.
In this Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, file photo, a humpback whale breeches off Half Moon Bay, Calif. AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

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.

Coverage of humpback whales on Globalnews.ca:

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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 non-profit that represents Native American tribes, was settled Friday in federal district court in San Francisco.

READ MORE: Humpback whales put on a spectacular show for guests at Port Hardy lodge

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.