On the Northwest: Commercial Whaling in the Pacific Northwest, 1790-1967

On the Northwest: Commercial Whaling in the Pacific Northwest, 1790-1967

On the Northwest: Commercial Whaling in the Pacific Northwest, 1790-1967

On the Northwest: Commercial Whaling in the Pacific Northwest, 1790-1967

Synopsis

On the Northwest is the first complete history of commercial whaling in the Pacific Northwest from its shadowy origins in the late 1700s to its demise in western Canada in 1967. Whaling in the eastern North Pacific represented a century and a half of exploration and exploitation which involved the entrepreneurs, merchants, politicians, and seamen of a dozen nations.

Excerpt

The country war all waiting to he known again. Most discovery is rediscovery.

KENNETH BROWER THE STARSHIP AND THE CANOE (1978)

Johan Hjort is a man I would like to have known. A professor of marine biology at the University of Oslo before World War II, he carefully analysed the technological whaling of his time. He became a recognized expert in its science and was chosen to chair conferences and conventions which had belatedly convened to regulate the harvest of this valuable economic resource.

Hjort concluded, in the self-effacing cone of many of his fellow Norwegians, that the increasingly sophisticated means of hunting actually jeopardized the whaling industry because the technology offered no solution to the problem of stock replenishment. Under such telling titles as The Story of Whaling: A Parable of Sociology, Human Activities and the Study of Life in the Sea, and The Optimum Catch, he explained how populations of whales, finite in number and renewable only over a long time, could not support the increased demand placed upon them by commercially motivated factory-ship fleets and coastwise chaser boars which by 1930 scoured every ocean. He showed that the harvesting of whales proceeded contrary to the expectations of agriculture and domestic husbandry, where breeding improvements lead to strains of animals and plants that reproduce in larger numbers or faster; are more impervious to disease; or thrive in wastelands formerly considered unusable. Increased and improved whaling led only to a point . . .

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