“ The story of the whale is so remarkable, that were there not so many witnesses, I would not venture to tell it, lest I be accused of exaggeration.”
-J.D.B Stillman, aboard the ship Plymouth, November 1850 (Stewart, 1995)
There is no doubt that humans have always been intrigued with the majestic beauty of the large giants found in all of the world’s oceans. Whales and people have had a long history together, marked by many turns of events.
Long ago, native tribes, from many places in the world, depended largely on whales for protein in their diets. They were also able to use much of the whale for oil, thus began a tradition of whaling. The first documented whaling expedition occurred in South Korea around 6000 BC (Bryant, 2000).
Whaling began with smaller whales, since humans had only small boats and weapons, such as spears. However, as humans developed larger, more powerful weapons and built bigger boats, they also attained the ability to hunt larger whales. At this time, whaling became an industry, rather than a method of obtaining nutrition and oil when needed. As the whaling industry gained popularity the whale populations began to decline. Whalers moved from one species to another as their numbers decreased to a population size that was no longer economical to hunt. This strain on the whale populations was the heaviest with the creation of whole whaling fleets.
It is apparent, that although whaling has important economic value, providing oil and meat, it also has a devastating affect on the whale populations that are targeted. Conservation and sustainability of whale populations has been ignored for a long period of time, leading to possible extinction for many species. Whaling ...
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...eo retrieved November 20, 2004, from the following website: http://www.orcaconservancy.org/captivity
Horvath, Beth. Gray whales. Lecture given on July 27, 2004 during a Marine Mammals
class through AuSable Institute.
International Whaling Commission (2004). Aboriginal subsistence whaling. Retrieved
November 20, 2004, from the following website:
Marine mammal protection act of 1972. Retrieved October 3, 2004, from the following
Melville, Herman (1952). Moby-Dick. New York, NY: Hendricks House, Inc.
Misaki, Shigeko (2000). Media wars on whales and whaling. Retrieved November 21,
2004, from the following website: http://luna.pos.to/whale/gen_mis_media.html
Stewart, Frank (1995). The presence of whales. Seattle, WA: Alaska Northwest Books.
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