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Majestic fin whales

Icelandic whalers kill first fin whales in four years

As feared, whale hunters in Iceland have killed at least two fin whales, the first...
hvalur-8-whaling-vessel

Majority of Icelandic people think whaling harms their country’s reputation

A survey of Icelandic people has confirmed that the majority believe whaling damages Iceland's reputation. ...
A magnificent sei whale © Christopher Swann

Japan Begins Commercial Whaling Season

Sei whale © Christopher Swann Japanese whalers have left port to begin this year's annual...

Pumps and conveyor belts. How could more whales help save us?

University of Alaska Fairbanks Master's student, Dana Bloch, retrieves a CTD that is used to...

Early warning signs signalled collapse of whale numbers

Commercial whaling devastated whale populations during the 20th century and as the whalers targeted the largest individuals, so the body size of bluefinsei and sperm whales, dramatically shrank. 

A new scientific study by the University of Zurich in Switzerland shows that in the case of the sperm whale, they were around four metres shorter on average by the 1980s than they had been at the start of the century. It would suggest that the warning signs of what would happen to whales stocks were detectable up to 40 years before they collapsed.

A similar pattern has also been discovered in fish stocks that have been heavily depleted, indicating that recording the size of a species could be used as a method to monitor its population health and implement conservation efforts when warning signs appear.

Full report:
Body size shifts and early warning signals precede the historic collapse of whale stocks
Christopher F. Clements, Julia L. Blanchard, Kirsty L. Nash, Mark A. Hindell, Arpat Ozgul
Nature Ecology & Evolution 1, Article number: 0188 (2017)