North Atlantic Whales Going The Way Of The Dodo

Once prolific in the sea, their numbers are down to just 300. The North Atlantic whales have seen a drastic decrease in their population due to collision with ships, entanglement in fishing gear, and decreasing food. Historically, the whale population of North Atlantic Sea has been decimated by the whaling industry.

Known as North Atlantic Right whales, because the ancient whalers considered them to be the ‘right’ whales to catch. Their productivity in terms of oil gathered from their corpses, which tended to float, made them the ‘right’ whale for hunting.

Though whaling has been banned by the International Whaling Commission in 1986, and the North Atlantic whales has been protected from commercial whaling since 1935; the whale population is still on a decline.

The main reasons are human interference and global climate change. Climate change: The North Atlantic whales feed on zooplankton through a process called skimming. Due to the climate change the sea temperature is rising rapidly. As a result the zooplankton population is moving north where the sea is still cool. With decrease in food, the North Atlantic whales are finding it hardtop maintain their population. With climate change, the whole ecological pyramid of the ocean changes, causing many ocean species to become endangered. The warmer sea also interferes with their usual breeding grounds, as the whales needs a certain temperature to breed properly. The effects of ocean acidification, caused by climate change, are already being seen in some places, and threaten to cause significant damage to the marine food chain. Human interference: Since the North Atlantic whales have a tendency to swim in shallow waters close to the shore, they are more at danger from humans than other open water cetaceans. Even the contaminants in the ocean are causing erratic reproductive patterns and diseases causing a decline in the whale population.

Unless emergency management actions are taken the population will face a catastrophic decline and become extinct. Even killing one whale, can have a profound impact on the whole North Atlantic whale population. WWF have initiated various conservative measures including re-routing of shipping lanes to avoid collisions.

Today, the climate of the world is changing at a fast pace due to human pollution, making it hard for all animals to adapt, leading to their extinction.