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Endangered species vs. the whaling fact

Whaling is a harvesting practice that has been used on whales since 6,000 BC. Originally, its main purpose was to provide its protein rich oil and meat to feed people. Unfortunately, commercial whaling is now based on the high level of protein found it whale's oil. Such practice has been responsible for putting five whale species on the endangered species list. This is the whaling fact!

The whale species that are now considered endangered species are: the blue whale, the humpback whale, the fin whale, the sei whale and the bowhead whale. Because of this sad reality, these species are now protected by the conservation laws and regulations of numerous countries.

Did you know that whaling has been mentioned in both legends and novels? In fact, during the explorers' era, whaling has been responsible for the fear of sea monsters that were in fact baleen whales. Others created legends about whales being these seductive mermaids that would drive sailors to a certain death. Another story was in fact based on the whaling fact itself and printed as a novel. Although it mentioned an unusual target being a sperm whale, this novel made history under the famous name of Moby Dick.

Now, let's look at the history of whaling! The first recorded whaling practice was done 6,000 BC. When carved drawings of Stone Age people using such a harvesting practice were found, the whaling fact came to life in experts' mind. Of course, in those days, it was obvious that the main purpose behind the whaling fact was a survival technique used to feed their family. According to these drawings, people of this era were using boats and spears to pursue and subdue their prey.

As years passed, the whaling techniques improved. Between the 15th and the 18th century, whaling was happening in coastal waters by the Basque Fishery and from 17th and 20th century between Spitzbergen and Greenland while mainly focusing on hunting the Atlantic Northern Right whale. However things changed when the demand increased during the 19th century for whale oil and during the 20th century for whale meat.

The whaling fact has affected various cultures. In Japan, the whaling practice has been used since the 12th century but the technique changed in 1670 when whalers started to use nets to catch whales. In 1890, Japan adopted modern harpoon techniques and factory ships for mass whaling. In the 1940's and 1950, following World War II, a famine increased the demand for whale meat which is a good protein source. Although the discovery of petroleum appeared, it did not decrease the demand unlike in other countries as whale meat was still a very important part of the nutrition of the Japanese culture.

In the United States of America, whaling was divided in two types: native whaling and commercial whaling. You see, the Inuit culture practiced whaling for centuries prior the colonization by Europeans. The commercial whaling demand peaked between the 18th and 19th century, which is mainly responsible for putting several of these marine mammals on the endangered species list.

Prior to the discovery of petroleum on August 27, 1859 the demand for whale oil was very high as it was used in oil lamps as well as a good source of protein. The lack of demand for whale meat also explained that whale carcasses were thrown overboard as soon as the oil was harvested. Following the discovery of petroleum, and the replacement of whale oil in lamps by kerosene, the demand for whale products decline, especially after the 1920's and the discovery of electricity which put an end to the whaling fact in United States.

Whaling today mainly aims the Minke whale which populations are showing a decline. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has been trying to regulate an prohibit whaling in several countries since 1982, whaling is still done commercially in Norway. Other countries and regions practicing whaling regulated or not are: Canada, the Caribbean, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and United States.

The main method used to kill a whale is by using an explosive harpoon. A harpoon can pierce the thick skin of the whale than explodes inside it. An experience harpooner could drag the poor creature through hours of agonizing pain until death. Let's protect those endangered species and prevent their extinction by not supporting the whaling fact.

If you wish to learn more about whales, I invite you to visit the homepage of this site called: whales.

Here are the five whale species on the endangered species list

endangered species

These are Blue whales.

These are Bowhead whales.

endangered species
endangered species

This is a Fin whale.

This is a Humpback whale.

endangered species
endangered species

This is a Sei whale.

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