World Whale Populations

The book and movies featuring Moby Dick touch on a significant period in our evolution when we hunted whales around the world commercially.

(Transcript of Lawrence Gunther’s bi-weekly 12-minute segment on Live from Studio 5 broadcast over AMI TV and Audio across Canada)

Q. Welcome back Lawrence, just how are whales fairing these days? Are they still being hunted? Are their numbers still declining?

A. The large-scale hunting of whales that took place for hundreds of years up until the early 1900’s ended due partially to public pressure, but more because there were just no whales left to hunt. Petroleum replaced our dependence on whale oil….
A. Japan still insists on hunting whales, and no longer pretends it’s for science….
A. Inuit in Canada’s north still hunt Right Whales for food and ceremony….
A. Whale numbers are increasing throughout the world….

Q. Last week over 400 whales stranded on a beach along the coast of New Zealand. Is this size of stranding unheard of? What would cause such massive destruction of life?

A. Third largest stranding in New Zealand’s history….
A. In the late 1800’s over 1,000 Whales stranded along the coast of New Zealand…
A. No one knows why…

Q. Has Canada ever experienced large numbers of whales being stranded?

A. We have the occasional stranding, but just as often we have whales trapped in ice flows that are unable to reach open water….

Q. Saturday February 18 is international Whale day. What can we do to both honor the day, and contribute to the wellbeing of whales around the world?

A. Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum is soon to open their new exhibit on Blue Whales, the largest animal that ever lived on earth….
A. We can all make an effort to purchase seafood that is caught sustainably, which means using equipment that is whale friendly….