• Whaling - Wikipedia
  • Its earliest forms date to at least circa 3000 BC
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Whaling is the hunting of whales for their usable products like meat, oil and blubber

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See also the story of a Humpback Whale being rescued on the .

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16-26m, 25-35 tonnes, a large slender baleen whale with a long head, pronounced blow-hole ridges and a tall narrow blow. Grey body with white underparts. Slender dorsal fin with a gently-sloping leading edge on far back of body.

Photo from Brad Robson of a Killer Whale near Vancouver in 2006.

“Abundantly laden with the riches of the ocean”: Why whales were hunted. Whaling was an exceptionally dangerous business both physically and economically.
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The Whale, Whales and Whaling (Video)


11-18m, 30-60 tonnes, a broad-bodied baleen whale without a dorsal fin, white callosities visible on the head and a short V-shaped blow. Often seen breaching, slapping its tail or 'sails' and can stand on its head with its tail out of the water for several minutes. Seen breaching from the Tristan Settlement.

Commonly seen breeding around the Tristan Islands but numbers severely reduced by American whaling fleets in the 19th century, regarding this species as the 'right' one to catch - and hence its name. Tristan' s barter trade with whalers flourished until the 1860s - the ships calling in for fresh water, meat and vegetables.


Protected since 1937, nevertheless the population was severely reduced by illegal hunting by the Russian whaling fleet 1961-2 during the Islanders' sojourn following the 1961 volcanic eruption, and now scarce. Seen during the winter months May-October off Tristan.


Overview of North American Whaling

Fairly common in the open ocean over 200 miles around Tristan October - December in loose groups of 5-10, then moving to feed off Antarctic pack-ice during the southern summer. No confirmed sightings close to islands.

Graphic images of Japan's whaling released by …







































Whale Facts - Marine Mammal Information

Occasionally seen in Tristan waters during migration between the breeding season (May-August) in tropical waters to summer feeding grounds off the Antarctic pack-ice.

Whales and Whalers | Baleias e Baleeiros

Photo from Brad Robson showing a female Humpback Whale with calf
off The Patches in February 2009

Do Whales have Language? | Whales online

8-18m, 15-55 tonnes (males significantly the larger), a square-bodied whale with teeth in the lower jaw slotting into holes in the upper jaw. Dark grey or grey-brown and easily recognised by its rounded dorsal fin, and a row of humps down its tail stock. Short bushy blow, forward and to the left. Thought to be common in Tristan waters but no recent sightings.

Sea Shepherd to suspend pursuit of Japanese whalers - …

6-7m, 2-3.5 tonnes, poorly recorded world-wide. Most stranded whales on Tristan of this species. Pods of 10-30 beaked whales seen regularly around the islands which may be this species, but identification difficult.