The Numbers Of Whale Extermination In The 20th Century

Whale hunt

During the 20th century, man hunted almost 2.9 million whales, an indiscriminate hunt that almost wiped out the largest species in our oceans.

An investigation, “Emptying the Oceans: A Summary of Industrial Whaling Catches in the 20th Century”, collects records between the years 1900 and 1999 of the International Whaling Commission together with data from the USSR, reaching the following hunting figures:

  • North Atlantic: 276,442 whales.
  • North Pacific: 563,696 whales.
  • Southern Hemisphere: 2,053,956 whales.


The report only includes whales hunted for industrial use, whose peak occurred between 1960 and 1970. Another piece of data that shows us how devastating this industry was in the 20th century is that the number of dead sperm whales Between 1900 and 1962 it was similar to the 18th and 19th centuries together, in 63 years the same whales were killed as in the previous 200 years. But the worst is not there, since in the next 10 years, between 1962 and 1972, that figure was equal, something devastating.

The numbers of whale extermination in the 20th century

The study also tells us that in the southern oceans, the blue whale is found in less than 1% of the population of the existing figure in the pre-hunting season.

At present, Norway, Japan and Iceland still hunt for commercial purposes, other countries such as Canada, Denmark, Russia, South Korea and the USA (in Alaska) continue to hunt locally and artisanally. It is estimated that there are only about 500 thousand whales left on the planet.

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