By Meghan E. Marrero and Stuart Thornton. Tuesday, November 1,
American whaling flourished from the late s through the mids. Commercial whaling began in the Atlantic, but as whale populations declined, the chase spread to the Pacific and Arctic oceans. Byoverfishing had decimated whale populations in the Atlantic Ocean.
The inspiration for the white whale of Moby Dick, sperm whales have the largest heads, biggest brains, and make the loudest sound of any animal on Earth. Region: Arctic. Destinations: Lofoten, Greenland, Svalbard, Iceland.
For more than a century, between andthe headquarters of the global oil business was a small island named Nantucket, twenty-four miles off the coast of Southern New England. The Nantucket whalers were the acknowledged world leaders, the masters of the hunt for the spermaceti whale. Many whaleboats were struck by Sperm whales resulting in the deaths of hundreds of whalers.
While most people think about whaling in recent years the history of whaling dates back to at least 3, B. Some of this evidence includes observing ancient tools that appear to be early harpoons with ropes or lines attached to them as well as the use of drogues. Part of the increased necessity for whale parts was due to the boom of the industrial era as whale oil became increasingly used among both small and large businesses.
Sperm whaling is the hunting of these marine mammals for the oil, meat and bone that can be extracted from their bodies. Sperm whalesa large and deep-diving species, produce a waxy substance that was especially useful during the Industrial Revolutionand so they were targeted in 19th-century whalingas exemplified in Moby Dick. Sperm oil is no longer needed, but another unusual product, ambergrisis still valued as a perfume fixative.
Today Nantucket Island is a fashionable summer resort: a place of T-shirt shops and trendy boutiques. Part of what makes the island unique is its place on the map. For a relatively brief period during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this lonely crescent of sand at the edge of the Atlantic was the whaling capital of the world and one of the wealthiest communities in America.
Sperm whales have been a part of American culture ever since Captain Ahab set out aboard the Pequod to find the infamous white whale in "Moby Dick". Large, noisy, and often social, sperm whales are a remarkable species found from the equator to the poles. The giant whales, growing up to 50 feet long, were hunted commercially throughout their global range from the s until the s.
While not a current threat in Canadian waters, the repercussions of historical whaling are still seen in many threatened cetacean populations to this day. Driven by the demand for oil that could be rendered from the whale carcasses into soap and lard, pre-industrial whaling occurred in the Strait of Georgia and Queen Charlotte Strait between andusing sailing ships and hand-thrown harpoons 1. Grey whales and North Pacific right whales were the primary targets of these European whaling ships, and by the end of the 19 th century these two species had already been depleted to the point where they were no longer commercially viable 1.