After years of persecution, whales are getting their own back

NO GOOD deed, cynics say, goes unpunished. That is certainly the view of longline fishermen in southern Alaska. The good deed in question is the end of commercial whaling, courtesy of a moratorium agreed, in 1982, by the countries once involved in that trade. Most of the species that have benefited from the moratorium are baleen whales. These feed by filtering small organisms such as krill from the water, using hairy plates (made of tissue called baleen) as sieves. Some whales, though, have teeth, and hunt larger prey, such as fish and squid. The largest of these is the sperm whale, once a prize target for whalers because of the oil contained in an organ that it uses for echolocation.

How badly sperm whales were hit by whaling is hard to know, but their population is certainly recovering. America‚Äôs National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) estimates that, since the moratorium went into effect in 1986, their population has grown at about…Continue reading

Source: New feed