Commercial whaling devastated the world’s biggest whale
species, pushing some of them to the very brink of extinction in the early to
mid 20th Century. Whaling for meat, oil, or whalebone was not a new
idea, but new explosive harpoons and industrialised factory
ships plundering the seas for whales had an even more catastrophic impact than
what had come in centuries before.
It was the realisation that catches were declining that led
to the creation, by whaling nations, of an organisation that would become the
‘International Whaling Commission’ (IWC).