Legacy of Industrial Whaling


in Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248847
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933200 | DOI:
Legacy of Industrial Whaling

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An intriguing hypothesis that has recently been raised for the North Pacific Ocean and southern Bering Sea (Springer et al., 2003) holds that the reduction in large-cetacean biomass from whaling caused killer whales to prey on other species. This chapter examines the plausibility of that hypothesis for the Southern Hemisphere. It specifically looks for evidence of the following corollaries of Springer et al.: marine mammal species that are frequently preyed on by killer whales should have declined in the 20th century; marine mammal species not often preyed on by killer whales should have increased or remained stable; and any declines should be consistent with increased killer whale predation. The chapter suggests that it is plausible that these declines in southern elephant seals and southern sea lions were caused by increased predation by killer whales; but in minke whales, it is too precipitous for predation to be the sole cause.

Keywords: large-cetacean biomass; whaling; Springer hypothesis; marine mammal populations; killer whale predation

Chapter.  13699 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Aquatic Biology

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