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Antarctic Whaling

Nature volume 143, page 554 (01 April 1939) | Download Citation



THE Polar Record for January, a journal which has now widened its scope to include various articles in addition to news of polar expeditions, contains some details of the International Whaling Agreement of 1938. The measures agreed on in 1937 included a minimum size limit for various species, the restriction of the Antarctic whaling season from December 8 to March 7 and the prohibition of pelagic whaling in temperate and tropical waters. Last year the conference went further, though it wasdecided that restrictions on the numbers of whale catchers were impracticable at present. It was, however, agreed to prohibit the killing of humpback whales in waters south of lat. 40° S. for one year. This species is more vulnerable than blue and fin whales, and it is hoped thus tosave the stock from exhaustion. It was also decided to prohibit all pelagic whaling for at least two years in the Pacific waters south of lat. 40° S. between long. 70° W. and 100° W. These waters so far have no pelagic or other whalers and so may well serve as a sanctuary for huntedspecies. In spite of these restrictions, it is admitted that the industryas a whole is probably taking an unduly large number of whales.

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