Fin whale photographed by drone during a cruise in 2023. Photo Credit: Martin Biuw / Institute of Marine research and Julian Dale / Duke University, Marine Robotics and Remote Sensing Lab

Animals Southern Ocean29. May 2024

No More Whaling, a Lot More Whales!

Recent studies reveal that fin whales are recovering massively in the Southern Ocean.

“It is simply sensational. The results show over 50,000 fin whales in the Scotia Sea alone. That is more than three times higher than previously estimated for the entire Southern Ocean,” says marine scientist Martin Biuw.

Industrial whaling wreaked havoc on myriad whale species in the first half of the 20th century. Many were brought close to extinction until the practice was criminalized in the later part of the 1900s. Estimates show that over 700,000 whales were killed during the industrial whaling period. For many years, there was great uncertainty surrounding how many fin whales still lived in the Southern Ocean. Using modern-day techniques to count the number of whales within a particular area, marine scientists have recently confirmed the comeback of fin whales, particularly in the Southern Ocean’s Scotia Sea. These positive findings were presented in April 2024 at the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission in Bled, Slovenia.

Institute of Marine Research

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