Southern right whale populations are showing a slow increase since international protection in 1935, when over-exploitation nearly eradicated the species. There are estimated to be approximately 3,000 to 4,000 currently surviving in the southern hemisphere. Aside from international protection, individual countries are also protecting these whales and improving their ability to survive and reproduce. In Brazil the Right Whale project has been in effect since 1981. The program's goal is to protect the whales in their breeding grounds off the coast of South Brazil. Program participants monitor and research the current situation, and inform the public about the importance of environmental protection. Since its establishment, the program has, among other beneficial actions, gotten the government for the State of Santa Catarina to declare the southern right whales a state natural monument, thereby assuring its full protection. Other countries have also vowed to minimize human impacts on whale populations. This idea has been followed through by reducing direct disturbance and coastal industrial activity, as well as increasing awareness of the hazards of oceanic dumping that may lead to bioaccumulation and possible extinction.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: appendix i
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: critically endangered