U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published by Marine Fisheries Review 71:1 (2009), pp. 39-43.


The great whales of the Southern Ocean were extensively exploited by modern whaling methods, with the first catches made in the Falkland Islands Dependencies region of IWC Management Area II in 1904 (Tønnesson and Johnsen, 1982; Hart, 2006). Exploitation went through several phases. Populations of humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, and blue whales, Balaenoptera musculus, around South Georgia crashed around the time of World War I, and further exploitation occurred in other regions into the 1930’s. There was a hiatus in whaling during World War II, but large-scale catches resumed in Antarctic waters after 1945.