Commercial Whaling, Especially for Gray Whales, Eschrichtius robustus, and Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, at California and Baja California Shore Stations in the 19th Century (1854–1899)

Reeves, Randall R. and Smith, Tim D. (2010) Commercial Whaling, Especially for Gray Whales, Eschrichtius robustus, and Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, at California and Baja California Shore Stations in the 19th Century (1854–1899). Marine Fisheries Review, 72(1), pp. 1-25.

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Abstract

Shore whaling along North America’s California and Baja California coasts during 1854–99 was ancillary to the offshore and alongshore American whale fishery, which had begun in the North Pacific in the early 1800’s and was flourishing by the 1840’s. From its inception at Monterey, Calif., in the mid 1850’s, the shore fishery, involving open boats deployed from land to catch and tow whales for processing, eventually spread from Monterey south to San Diego and Baja California and north to Crescent City near the California–Oregon border. It had declined to a relict industry by the 1880’s, although sporadic efforts continued into the early 20th century. The main target species were gray whales, Eschrichtius robustus, and humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, with the valuable North Pacific right whale, Eubalaena japonica, also pursued opportunistically. Catch data are grossly incomplete for most stations; no logbooks were kept for these operations as they were for high-seas whaling voyages. Even when good information is available on catch levels, usually as number of whales landed or quantity of oil produced, it is rarely broken down by species. Therefore, we devised methods for extrapolation, interpolation, pro rationing, correction, and informed judgment to produce time series of catches. The resulting estimates of landings from 1854 to 1899 are 3,150 (SE = 112) gray whales and 1,637 (SE = 62) humpback whales. The numbers landed should be multiplied by 1.2 to account for hunting loss (i.e. whales harpooned or shot but not recovered and processed).

Item Type: Article
Title: Commercial Whaling, Especially for Gray Whales, Eschrichtius robustus, and Humpback Whales, Megaptera novaeangliae, at California and Baja California Shore Stations in the 19th Century (1854–1899)
Personal Creator/Author:
CreatorsEmail
Reeves, Randall R.
Smith, Tim D.
Refereed: Yes
Journal or Publication Title: Marine Fisheries Review
Volume: 72
Number: 1
Page Range: pp. 1-25
Date: 2010
ISSN: 0090-1830
Issuing Agency: United States National Marine Fisheries Service
Subjects: Conservation
Fisheries
Management
Item ID: 9677
Depositing User: Patti M. Marraro
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2012 16:33
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2012 16:33
URI: http://aquaticcommons.org/id/eprint/9677

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