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surface.6 1Furthermore, the actual abundance of zooplankton could be reduced from the pollution

itself.6 2

Hunting of the Northern Right Whale was the original cause of near-extinction. Whales

have been hunted since perhaps as early as the 1100s by Basque whalers. By the late 1800s and

early 1900s, the population of Northern Right Whale was brought to near-extinction. There is

evidence that even as early as the 1600s, Northern Right Whale hunting by Basques ceased

because of the reduced whale population.6 3

"Several thousand right whales once existed in the

North Atlantic Ocean, but years of commercial hunting at the turn of the century severely

depleted the stocks. Current estimates indicate that fewer than 350 remain in the North Atlantic

Ocean."6 4

One facet of the decline of Northern Right Whale proliferation could be due to the fact

that as the population was declining, the number of females with differing genetic material also

diminished, thus making the mating circumstances undesirable for breeding healthy future

generations of whales. Genetic studies have proven that all whales living today descend only

from three females.6 5

If the trends continue at the current rate, it appears Northern Right Whales will be extinct

within 200 years.6 6Despite world-wide efforts to augment whale proliferation, the population is

just not increasing. 67In 2001 alone, six whales died. 6 8

61 http://www.bishops.ntc.ca/science/envsci/endangered/tfry/Right.html. 62 http://www.ncseonline.org/NLE/CRSreports/Biodoversity/biov-12.cfm?&CFID=7774228&CFTOKEN=25713104.
63 http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/prot_res/readingrm/Recoverplans/rgtwhlrp.pdf. 64 http://www.rightwhale.noaa.gov/
65 http://www.graysreef.nos.noaa.gov/articles/art3.html
66 http://www.enn.com/enn-news-archive/1999/03/031899/rightwhale_2200.asp. 67 http://www.rightwhales.org/about/exploitatioin.html.
68 http://www.coastalstudies.org/rescue/1238.htm.