History of whaling The Basques were the first whale hunters and they used harpoons. They established a station in Labrador in 1536. However, whaling probably began much earlier in many coastal communities throughout the world, including the Basques, but also the Vikings, some Indian tribes of North America (Makah, Nootka, Nuu-chah-nulth) and the Japanese.
Today only Japan and Norway still hunt whales. Iceland, however, plans to hunt them again. Other maritime nations are trying to limit the impact of hunting by establishing sanctuaries in their territorial waters.
On June 19, 2006, Tokyo got a vote infavor of whaling (Src: Reuters) and this revived large intensive fishing against the largest mammal of our planet. Japan and its allies won for the first time in more than 20 years, a favorable vote in the whale fishery at the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC).
The blue whale and whales are still in a critical situation. Others gently back their numbers but it is unclear how much pollution and changes linked to global warming, degassing or wild fishing nets have an impact on their future. Certain priorities must be imposed not to resume the hunt.
We're starting to see some of these species repopulate. But we mustn’t forget all those whales which endured intensive hunting, prized for their meat and fat. It should be noted that the creation of the harpoon gun led to carnage on the world's seas. More than two million whales were killed in less than 100 years!
So today, there are probably not more than 1000 or 2000 of these blue whales that once roamed the oceans. After blue whales, fin whales were attacked. Formerly, in the South Seas, there would have been half a million and now they are only a few thousand. You should also know that Russia has often cheated on its fishing quotas in the 90s. We mustn’t forget that Japan and Norway sometimes hunt endangered whales, and say that it’s natural and logical after all. They also say that some are hunted for scientific purposes.