Overfishing of whales is a well-known problem that was first identified in the North Pacific Ocean. The researchers analyzed data from over one hundred years of whale surveys to come up with their conclusions. Based on the known size of each species of whale and their annual catch distribution, the researchers conclude that whales could have easily been replenished in the past but, because of overfishing, their numbers have fallen dramatically. Because of this overfishing, some whale species are now in danger of becoming extinct. This article will focus on the consequences of whale extinction, including the impact it will have on human kind and our environment.
As described by the researchers, “The reduction of whale populations resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of humpback and killer whales, together with a nearly equal loss in baleen (or sperm) whales. Since the majority of North Pacific whales are pelagic, which means that they stay close to the surface of the water where they hunt fish, this decline in their numbers likely had a negative impact on the food supply.” They also found that global warming had caused an acceleration in global commercial fishing activity, leading to an even greater overfishing of whales. Global warming has been blamed for the unusual rise in temperatures inside the Earth’s atmosphere, which allows for more evaporation of the oceans’ surface layer and increased ocean currents.
Global warming, in addition to overfishing of whales, is a result of the massive amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels like coal and oil. In order to escape these pollutants, most marine animals must swim up to the open ocean to find food. This process, called ocean acidification, hastens overfishing and ocean loss. Overfishing can have a knock-on effect on the rest of the ocean’s ecosystem, leading to algal bloom, blooms and fish death.
In addition to all of these environmental and climate changes, whaling has also faced major problems in recent years. In the past several years, the International Whaling Commission has brought whaling to an immediate halt, citing in the reasons for its decision to ban the practice. The International Whaling Association claims that this is due to a sharp decline in the amount of whale meat available for sale in Japan and other countries. The International Whaling Regulations now requires that all countries engaged in whaling, provide accurate information regarding the number of whales they have killed and the number of whales in reserve. This information is used to calculate the annual quota that must be kept in reserve, according to the size of each country’s whale population.
Overfishing is not the only thing that has caused the decline in the numbers of whales. Many in the industry feel that one of the main reasons is overfishing. The decrease in whale numbers is said to be directly related to the increase in industrial fishing techniques. Since the beginning of the commercial whaling industry, whale oil and other products have been highly coveted, resulting in massive amounts of fishing pressure. Today, with the increase in efficiency of modern day commercial fishing methods, even a fraction of the pressure necessary to achieve a desired rate of catch can be easily surpassed, leading to a dwindling number of whales in the sea.
The lack of prey means that whales help to control oceanic acidity levels. Oceans acidification is believed to be directly related to the increase in human activity. Overfishing has caused the buildup of excess human waste and garbage in the seas, creating a perfect condition for the growth of bacteria and other life forms in the waters surrounding the coastlines. This overabundance of potentially harmful bacteria and other types of unwanted living creatures are the culprits behind the increased acidity of the seas surrounding coastal areas.