Despite the government laws whale are still
being killed and the species is nearly endangered.
Whaling in Australia commenced in the late 18th century. There is no known history of Aboriginal communities in Australia having hunted whales. Early whaling in Australia was carried out using harpoons from small boats and the whales were towed behind the boats back to whaling stations on shore. Whale products were used for a number of things. Whale blubber was melted down to be used as oil for lamp fuel, lubricants and candles and as a base for perfumes and soaps. Baleen (whalebone) was used for items such as corsets, whips and umbrellas. Whaling and the export of whale by-products such as whale oil became one of Australia's first primary industries. One of the first commercial whaling operations in Australia was the Davidson Whaling Station located just outside of Eden on the south-east coast of New South Wales. Numerous other coastal whaling stations were established around Australia in the late 1820s to 1830s. The development of harpoon guns, explosive harpoons and steam-driven whaling boats in the late 19th century made large-scale commercial whaling so efficient that many whale species were over-exploited and came very near to extinction. Over-exploitation eventually led to the demise of the whaling industry in Australia. As whale numbers plummeted in the 20th Century, laws were passed to protect a number of the species.
Sea Shepherd Australia is a non-profit conservation organisation whose mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species. Sea Shepherd Australia uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. By safeguarding the biodiversity of our delicately balanced oceanic ecosystems, Sea Shepherd Australia works to ensure their survival for future generations.
Since the International Whaling Commission moratorium on commercial whaling came into place in 1986, many whale populations have begun to recover. The southern right whale, which was nearly extinct by the middle of the nineteenth century, is now showing signs of recovery. In recent years, growing numbers appear annually off the southern Australian coast, where breeding and socialising occurs before they head south to feed in the nutrient-rich sub-Antarctic waters. Unfortunately, while some populations and species are showing signs of recovery, the future of others remains uncertain. Despite decades of protection, blue whales remain at about 2% of pre-whaling levels although their numbers appear to be slowly increasing at last. Even within species, recovery has been patchy. Overall the humpback whale has moved from 'vulnerable' to 'least concern' on the IUCN Red List, a list of the world's species facing the highest risk of extinction. This means that overall humpback whales are less likely to become extinct. But two sub populations, including one in the South Pacific, remain endangered and of high concern.