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Whaling, 16th Century

Whaling, 16th Century


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29.6 MB (2.2 MB compressed)

4200 x 2460 pixels

35.6 x 20.8 cm ⏐ 14.0 x 8.2 in (300dpi)

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Woodcut of a whale from Des Monstres et prodiges by Ambroise Pare, 1573. Des Monstres is filled with unsubstantiated accounts of sea devils, marine sows, and monstrous animals with human faces. With its extensive discussion of reproduction and illustrations of birth defects, the book invited accusations of pornography. Industrial whaling emerged with organized fleets in the 17th century, competitive national whaling industries in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the introduction of factory ships along with the concept of whale harvesting in the first half of the 20th century. As technology increased and demand for the resources remained, catches far exceeded the sustainable limit for whale stocks. In the late 1930s, more than 50,000 whales were killed annually and by the middle of the century whale stocks were not being replenished. In 1986, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) banned commercial whaling so that stocks might recover.

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