Humpback Whale Exploitation

In the past, humans have used their knowledge of the annual humpback whale migration to a devastating advantage. Whaling stations existed on Moreton Island and at Byron Bay in the 1950s. Whaling ceased in the Southern Hemisphere in 1962, Humpback whales numbers are slowly recovering from this large-scale decimation.

It is encouraging to know, that there is an annual increase of 13.5% reported since 1990, but the Humpbacks are still the third most endangered species of all the big whales.

Sperm Southern Hemisphere 1,200,000 920,000
Northern Hemisphere 1,100,000 1,000,000
Blue Southern Hemisphere 200,000 8,000
Northern Hemisphere 10,000 1,000
Fin Southern Hemisphere 500,000 90,000
Northern Hemisphere 55,000 15,000
Sei Southern Hemisphere 200,000 35,000
Northern Hemisphere 70,000 15,000
Bryde’s Southern Hemisphere 30,000 30,000
Northern Hemisphere 60,000 60,000
Minke Southern Hemisphere 450,000 360,000
Northern Hemisphere 150,000 120,000
Grey Southern Hemisphere - -
Northern Hemisphere 25,000+ 15,000
Right Southern Hemisphere 120,000


Northern Hemisphere -

1 000

Bowhead Southern Hemisphere -


Northern Hemisphere 35,000


Humpback Southern Hemisphere 100,000 3,000
Northern Hemisphere 20,000 6,000

(i) Original ' means ten best estimate of the
population before intense exploitation began.

Note: The above figures are an indication of stocks in the worlds oceans, however the data obtained to formulate these estimates has come under criticism from many scientific groups around the whole due to the nature of data used and their analysis.

Today, enlightened attitudes and the FIOMA legislation ensure the conservation of the species. The 1980 Whale Protection Act banned the import of whale products and goods containing whale products from 1981.

INTROhumpback INTROhumpback whale - feeding

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