Basque whales are getting smaller due to stress

2021/06/09 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

A mature Basque whale (Eubalaena glacialis) with breeding. Ed. Public domain

Studies by the U.S. Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 1980 have shown the decline of Basque whales or whales (Eubalaena glacialis) in the North Atlantic. An adult whale is estimated to be 1.5 meters less than 30 years ago.

Researchers have recalled that currently only 400 individuals remain, well below the prosperity it had in historical times. Although their hunting is forbidden and has no direct enemies, they continue to suffer the damage of human activities. Moreover, in recent years they have suffered a greater impact. In fact, in measurements carried out through ships and drones piloted at a distance, there has been an increase in sublethal injuries, which at that time are not capable of causing death, especially those caused by the instruments of fishing vessels.

According to researchers, this stress has meant lower whale growth and less reproductive success. Therefore, the ban on hunting is not enough to restore the whale population.


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