Subject: Whales: papers (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:08:10 -0400 (EDT)

Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 09:44:45 -0400
From: Phil Clapham <>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: New papers

The following two papers have been published recently.  Request for
reprints should be sent to me at the address below.

Clapham, P.J., Young, S.B. & Brownell, R.L. Jr.  1999.  Baleen whales:
conservation issues and the status of the most endangered populations.
Mammal Review 29: 35-60.

Most species of baleen whales were subject to intensive overexploitation
by commercial whaling in this and previous centuries, and many
populations were reduced to small fractions of their original sizes.
Here, we review the status of baleen whale stocks, with an emphasis on
those that are known or thought to be critically endangered.  Current
data suggest that, of the various threats potentially affecting baleen
whales, only entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes may be
significant at the population level, and then only in those populations
which are already at critically low abundance.  The impact of some
problems (vessel harassment, and commercial or aboriginal whaling) is at
present probably minor.  For others (contaminants, habitat degradation,
disease), existing data either indicate no immediate cause for concern,
or are insufficient to permit an assessment.  While the prospect for
many baleen whales appears good, there are notable exceptions;
populations that are of greatest concern are those suffering from low
abundance and associated problems, including (in some cases)
anthropogenic mortality.  These include: all Northern Right Whales
(Eubalaena glacialis), Bowhead Whales (Balaena mysticetus) of the
Okhotsk Sea and various eastern Arctic populations, western Gray Whales
(Eschrichtius robustus), and probably many Blue Whale (Balaenoptera
musculus) populations.  We review the status of these populations and,
where known, the issues potentially affecting their recovery.  Although
Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Southern Right Whales
(Eubalaena australis) were also heavily exploited by whaling, existing
data indicate strong recovery in most studied populations of these

Clapham, P.J. & Mead, J.G.  1999.  Megaptera novaeangliae.  Mammalian
Species 604: 1-9.

(No abstract - this is the species account for the humpback whale in the
American Society of Mammalogists' Mammalian Species series).


Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D.
Large Whale Biology Program
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
166 Water Street
Woods Hole, MA 02543

tel (508) 495-2316
fax (508) 495-2066