1902 Encyclopedia > Whale

Whale




WHALE, a name applied rather loosely to various animals of the order Getacea, the general characters and classification of which have been described in the article MAMMALIA (vol. xv. p. 391). All the members of the sub-order Mystacoceti, or Cetacea with whalebone, are called " whales." But of the Odontoceti, or Cetacea with teeth, only certain of the larger ones are so termed, the smaller species being popularly spoken of as " bottlenoses," "dolphins," and "porpoises"; yet so indefinitely has the word been applied that a true dolphin (Delphinus tursio), not exceeding 8 feet in length, is described in some works as the " smaller bottlenosed whale."
Although by their mode of life so far removed from close observation that it is impossible to become as fami-liar with them in their natural condition as with many other animals, whales are in many respects the most interesting and wonderful of all creatures; and there is much in their structure and habits which is well worthy of study, much that is difficult to understand, and much that leads to great generalizations and throws light upon far-reaching philosophical speculations. One of the first lessons which a study of these animals affords is that, in the endeavour to discover what a creature really is, from what others it is descended, and to what it is related, the general outward appearance affords little clue, and we must go deep below the surface 'to find out the es-sential characteristics of its nature. There was once, and may be still in many places, a common idea that a whale is a fish. To realize the fallacy of this notion we have only to consider what a fish really is, what under all the diversities of form, size, and colour known among fishes there is common to them all, and we see that in everything which characterizes a true fish and separates it from other classes, as reptiles, birds, and mammals, the whale resembles the last-named and differs from the fish. It is as essentially a mammal as a cow or a horse, and simply resembles a fish externally because it is adapted to inhabit the same element; but it is no more on that account a fish than is a bat, because adapted to pass a great part of its existence on the wing in the air, nearly related to a bird. The whole structure of a whale is a most instructive in-stance of a type of organization which is common to and characteristic of the class Mammalia, only specially modi-fied or adapted to a peculiar mode of life. We see in every part the result of two great principles acting and re-acting upon each other,—on the one hand, adherence to type, or rather to fundamental inherited structural condi-tions, and, on the other, adaptation to the peculiar circum-stances under which it lives, and to which in all probability it has become gradually more and more fitted. The external fish-like form is perfectly suited for swimming through the water; the tail, however, is not placed vertically as in fishes, but horizontally, a position which accords better with the constant necessity for rising to the surface for the pur-pose of breathing. The hairy covering characteristic of all mammals, which if present might interfere with rapidity of movement through the water, is reduced to the merest rudiments,—a few short bristles about the chin or upper lip,—which are often only present in very young animals. The function of keeping the body warm is supplied by a thick layer of non-conducting material, the "blubber," a peculiarly dense kind of fat placed immediately beneath the skin. The fore-limbs, though functionally reduced to mere paddles, with no power of motion except at the shoulder-joint, have beneath their smooth and continuous
external covering all the bones, joints, and even most of the muscles, nerves, and arteries, of the human arm and hand; and rudiments even of hind legs are found buried deep in the interior of the animal, apparently subserving no useful purpose, but pointing an instructive lesson to those who are able to read it.
In what follows a more detailed account is given of the best known of those species of Cetacea to which the name " whale " is popularly applied, especially those frequenting British waters, than could be given under MAMMALIA.
I. Sub-order MYSTACOCETI or Whalebone Whales.
Genus Baleena.—The Greenland, or more properly Arctic, right Green whale (Balmna mysticetus) attains, when full-grown, a length of land from 45 to 50 feet. Its external form is shown in fig. 1, from a right careful drawing by Mr Robert Gray. In this species all the peculi- whale arities which distinguish the head and mouth of the whales from those of other mammals have attained their greatest development. The head is of enormous size, exceeding one-third of the whole length of the creature. The cavity of the mouth is actually larger than that of the body, thorax, and abdomen together. The upper jaw is very narrow, but greatly arched from before backwards, to increase the height of the cavity and allow for the great length of the baleen or "whalebone" blades; the enormous rami of the mandible are widely separated posteriorly, and have a still further outward sweep before they meet at the symphysis in front, giving the floor of the mouth the shape of an immense spoon. The baleen blades attain the number of 380 or more on each side, and those in the middle of the series have a length of 10 or sometimes 12

borders of the ice-fields or barriers, is its home and feeding-ground. It is true that these animals are pursued in the open water during the summer months, but in no instance have we learned of their being captured south of where winter ice-fields are occasionally met with." The occurrence of this species, therefore, on the British or any European coast is exceedingly unlikely, as when alive and in health the southern limit of its range in the North Sea has been ascertained to be from the east coast of Greenland at 64° N. lat. along the north of Iceland towards Spitsbergen, and a glance at a physical chart will show that there are no currents setting south-wards which could bear a disabled animal or a floating carcase to British shores. To this a _priori improbability may be added the fact that no authentic instance has been recorded of the capture or stranding of this species upon any European coast, for the cases of its having been reported as seen in British waters may be explained by the supposition of one of the other species of the genus being mistaken for it. Still, as two other Arctic cetaceans, the narwhal and the beluga, have in a few undoubted instances found their way to British shores, it would be rash absolutely to deny the possi-bility of the Greenland right whale doing the same. Further details of the migrations and habits of this species are given under " Whale Fisheries" (see p. 526 below).
Southern The southern right whale (B. australis) resembles right the last in the absence of dorsal fin and of longi-whale. tudinal furrows in the skin of the throat and chest,
but differs in that it possesses a smaller head in proportion to its body, shorter baleen, a different-shaped contour of the upper margin of the lower lip, and a greater number of vertebrae. The
genus inhabits the temperate seas of both northern and southern hemispheres and is divided into several species according to their geographical distribution:—B. biscayensis of the North Atlantic, B. japónica of the North Pacific, B. australis of the South Atlantic, and B. antipodarum and B. novse-zelandise of the South Pacific. But the differential characters by which they have been separated, external as well as anatomical, are slight and subject to individual variation ; and the number of specimens available for comparison in museums is not yet sufficient to afford the neces-sary data to determine whether these characters can be regarded as specific or not. The most interesting of these is the right whale, which was formerly abundant in the North Atlantic, but is now so scarce as to appear verging on extinction. This was the whale the pursuit of which gave occupation to a numerous population on the shores of the Basque provinces of France and Spain in the Middle Ages. From the 10th to the 16th centuries Bayonne, Biarritz, St Jean de Luz, and San Sebastian, as well as numerous other towns on the north coast of Spain, were the centres of an active whale "fishery," which supplied Europe with oil and whalebone. In later times the wdiales were pursued as far as the coast of New-foundland. They were, however, already getting scarce when the voyages undertaken towards the close of the 16th century for the discovery of the north-eastern route to China and the East Indies opened out the seas around Spitzbergen ; then for the first time the existence of the Greenland whale became known, and henceforth the energies of the European whale-fishers became concentrated upon that animal. It is a singular fact that the existence of the Atlantic right wdiale was quite overlooked by naturalists till lately, all accounts referring to it being attributed to the Greenland whale, supposed once to have had a wider distribution than now, and to have been driven by the persecution of man to its present circum-polar haunts. To the two Danish cetologists Eschricht and Bein-hardt is due the credit of having proved its existence as a distinct species, from a careful collation of numerous historical notices of its structure, distribution, and habits ; and their restoration of the animal, founded upon these documents, has been abundantly con-firmed by the capture of various specimens in recent times, showing that it still lingers in some of the localities where it formerly was so abundant. The only known instances of its occurrence on the coasts of Europe in modern times are in the harbour of San Sebas-tian in January 1854, in the Gulf of Taranto, in the Mediterranean, in February 1877, and on the Spanish coast between Guetaria and Zarauz (Guipúzcoa) in February 1878. The skeletons of these three whales are preserved in the museums of Copenhagen, Naples, and San Sebastian respectively. On the coast of the United States several of these whales have been taken within the last few years. In the North Pacific a very similar if not identical species is regularly hunted by the Japanese, who tow the carcases ashore for the pur-poses of flensing and extracting the whalebone. In the tropical seas, however, according to Captain ittaury's wdiale charts, right whales are never or rarely seen ; but the southern temperate ocean, especially the neighbourhood of the Cape of Good Hope, Kergue-len's Island, Australia, and New Zealand, is inhabited by "black whales," once abundant, but now nearly exterminated through the wanton destruction of the females as they visit the bays and inlets round the coast, their constant habit in the breeding time. The range of these whales southward has not been accurately determined; but no species corresponding with the Arctic right whale has as yet been met with in the Antarctic icy seas.
Genus Megaptera.—The whale commonly called " humpback " Hump-(Megapiera boops) by whalers, perhaps on account of the low back
whale.
hump-like form of the dorsal fin, is very distinctly characterized from all others of the group, especially by the immense length of the pectoral fins or flippers, which are indented or scalloped along their margins, and are, except at their base, of a white colour, nearly all the rest of the body being black. It differs from the right wdiale and resembles the rorqual in having the skin of the throat and chest marked with deep longitudinal furrows. The baleen plates are short and broad and of a deep black colour.
Though common in the North Atlantic between Nor-way and Greenland, this whale does not frequently appear on the coasts of the British Isles. One came ashore at Newcastle in 1839 ; another, a young one, was taken in the estuary of the Dee in 1863 and its skeleton is preserved in the Liverpool museum; and a nearly full-grown animal was captured in the mouth of the Tay in the winter of 1883-84. The usual length of the adult ranges from 45 to 50 feet. Whales of the genus Megaptera are found in the South Atlantic and in both the North and the South Pacific. They resemble those of British seas so closely that it is doubtful whether the differences which have been observed, and upon which several species have been founded, may not have been individual peculiarities ; but zoologists have not yet had the op-portunity of examining and comparing such a series of specimens of different ages and sexes from different localities as would be necessary to determine these points satisfactorily.
Genus Balsenoptera.—The rorquals or fin whales have the Rorqual plicated skin of the throat like that of Megaptera, the furrows or fin being more numerous and close-set; but the pectoral fin is com- whale, paratively small and the dorsal fin distinct and falcate. The head is comparatively small and flat, and pointed in front, the baleen short and coarse, the body long and slender, and the tail veiy much compressed before it expands into the "flukes." The rorquals are perhaps the most abundant and widely distributed of all the whales, being found in some of their modifications in all seas, except the extreme Arctic, and probably Antarctic, regions. Owing to the small quantity and inferior quality of their whalebone, the com-paratively limited amount of blubber or subcutaneous fat, and their great activity and the difficulty of capturing them by the old methods, these whales were not until recently an object of pursuit by whale-fishers ; but, since the introduction of steam-vessels, and especially of explosive harpoons fired from guns, in the place of those hurled by the human hand, a regular fishery has been established on the coast of Finmark (see p. 528 below). There are four distinct species of this genus in British seas. (1) Balsenoptera sibbaldii, the "blue whale," the largest of all known animals, attains a length of 80 or even sometimes 85 feet. Its colour is dark bluish grey, with small whitish spots on the breast; the baleen is black ; the flippers are larger proportionally than in other rorquals, measuring one-seventh of the total length of the body ; and the dorsal fin is small and placed very far back. This whale has usually 64 vertebrae, of which 16 bear ribs. Like the others of the genus, this species seems to pass the winter in the open seas, and approaches the coast of Norway at the end of April or beginning of May. At this time its sole food is a small crustacean (Euphausia inermis), which swarms in the fjords. Several speci-mens have been taken on the British coasts, two fine skeletons from the Firth of Forth being preserved in the Edinburgh museums. (2) Balsenoptera musculus, the common rorqual, has a length of 65 to 70 feet, is of a greyish slate colour above and white underneath, and the baleen is slate colour, variegated with yellow or brown.

ft has usually 62 vertebra?, of which 15 bear ribs. This is the commonest of all the large whales on the British coasts ; scarcely a winter passes without the body of one being somewhere washed

































Sperm _whale.
ashore, usually after stormy weather, and more frequently on the south coast, as this species has a more southern range than the last, and frequently enters the Mediterranean. It feeds largely on fish, and is frequently seen feasting among shoals of herrings. (3) Balxnoptera borealis, often called Rudolphi's whale from its first odescriber, is a smaller species, scarcely attaining a length of 50 feet. It is bluish black above, with oblong light-coloured spots, whilst the under parts are more or less white ; the whole of the tail and both sides of the flippers are black ; the baleen is black, and the "bristly ends fine, curling, and white ; the flippers are very small, measuring one-eleventh of the total length of the body. There are 56 vertebrae, with 14 pairs of ribs. This species, according to Collett, feeds chiefly on minute crustaceans, mainly Calanus finmar-chicus and Euphausia inermis, and not on fish. Until lately it was _considered the rarest of the whales of European seas, and was only known to science from a few individuals stranded on the _coasts of northern Europe at long intervals, the skeletons of which have been preserved in museums. The most southern point at which it has been met with hitherto is Biarritz in France. Since the establishment of the whaling station near the North Cape it has been shown to be a regular summer visitor, and in 1885 771 individuals were captured on the coast of Finmark. (4) Balxnoptera rostrata, the lesser fin whale or rorqual, is the smallest species found in the northern seas, rarely exceeding 30 feet in length. Its colour is greyish black above, whilst the under side is white, including the whole of the lower side of the tail; the inner side of the flippers is white ; and there is a broad white band across the outer side, which is a very characteristic mark of the species ; the baleen is yellowish white. The dorsal fin in this and the last species is comparatively high, and placed far forwards on the body. This whale has usually 48 vertebrae, of which 11 bear ribs. It is common in summer in the fjords of Norway, and is often seen around the British Isles. It has been taken, though rarely, in the Mediterranean, and it ranges as far north as Davis Strait. Rorquals are met with in almost all seas throughout the world, but further and more accurate observations are required before their specific characters and geographical distribution can be made out. Nearly all the individuals hitherto examined with any care, wdiether from the North Pacific, the Australian seas, or the Indian Ocean, come very near in structure to one or the other of the Atlantic forms described above, so much so that some zoologists have been induced to believe that there are but four species, each of which has a wide, almost cosmopolitan range, while others have described and named almost every individual specimen captured as belonging to a different species.
Two totally distinct forms of whalebone whales, Rachianectes glaucus, the grey whale of the North Pacific (California and Japan), and Ncobalxna marginata of New Zealand, have never been found in the British seas (see vol. xv. p. 395).
II. ODONTOCETI or Toothed Whales.
Only one member of this group, the sperm whale or cachalot (Physeter macrocephalus), rivals the large whalebone whales in size, its length and bulk being about equal to, or somewhat exceeding,
the Arctic right whale, from which, however, it is very different in outward appearance and in structure. The head is about one-third of the length of the body, very massive, high and truncated in front, owing its huge size and remarkable form mainly to the great accumulation of a peculiarly modified form of fatty tissue, filling the large hollow on the upper surface of the skull. The oil contained in cells in this great cavity, when refined, yields spermaceti, and the thick covering of blubber, which everywhere envelopes the body, produces the valuable sperm-oil of commerce. The single blowhole is a longitudinal slit, placed at the upper and anterior extremity of the head to the left side of the middle line. The opening of the mouth is on the under side of the head, con-and grey below, the colours gradually shading into each other. The only known species of sperm whale is one of the most widely distributed of animals, being met with, usually in herds or "schools," in almost all tropical and subtropical seas, but not occurring, except accidentally, in the Polar regions. Not unfre-quently specimens appear on the coasts of Great Britain, but only as solitary stragglers, or as dead carcases, floated northwards by the Gulf Stream. It is remarkable that every case of which we have an accurate record has been an old male. The food of the sperm whale consists mainly of various species of cephalopods (squid and cuttlefish), but they also eat fish of considerable size. The substance called "ambergris," formerly used in medicine and now in perfumery, is a concretion formed in the intestine of this whale, and is found floating on the surface of the seas it inhabits. Its genuineness is proved by the presence of the horny beaks of the cephalopods on which the whale feeds.
The remaining Odontoeeti are all animals of much smaller size Bottle-than the sperm whale, but to several of them the name of nose "whale" is commonly applied. The hyperoodon, sometimes whale, called "hottlenose," a name also vaguely given to several species of dolphin, is a regular inhabitant of the North Atlantic, passing the summer in the Spitzbergen seas and going farther south in winter. It is allied to the sperm whale, and resembles it in possessing a large store of oil in the upper part of the head, which yields spermaceti when refined ; on this account, and also for the sake of the blubber, which supplies an oil almost indistinguishable from sperm oil, this wdiale has been the object of a regular chase in recent years. It is stated in the article MAMMALIA (vol. xv. p. 396) that there are two species of this genus, Hyperoodon rostratus, the common hyperoodon, and H. latifrons, attaining when adult, respectively, the length of 24 and 30 feet; but recent investigations have shown that the latter is the male and the former the female of the same species. They feed exclusively on cephalopods, and are practically toothless; the only teeth wdiich exist in the adult,—namely, a small pair at the front of the lower jaw,—are concealed beneath the gum during

behind the end of the snout. The lower jaw is extremely narrow-, and has on each side from twenty to twenty-five stout conical teeth, wdiich furnish ivory of good quality, though not in
sufficient bulk for most of the
purposes for which that article is
required. The upper teeth are
quite rudimentary and buried in
the gum. The pectoral fin or
flipper is short, broad, and trun-
cated, and the dorsal fin a mere
low protuberance. The general
Common rorqual (Baltmoptem musmlus). colour of the surface is black above
































Sperm _whale.
ashore, usually after stormy weather, and more frequently on the south coast, as this species has a more southern range than the last, and frequently enters the Mediterranean. It feeds largely on fish, and is frequently seen feasting among shoals of herrings. (3) Balxnoptera borealis, often called Rudolphi's whale from its first odescriber, is a smaller species, scarcely attaining a length of 50 feet. It is bluish black above, with oblong light-coloured spots, whilst the under parts are more or less white ; the whole of the tail and both sides of the flippers are black ; the baleen is black, and the "bristly ends fine, curling, and white ; the flippers are very small, measuring one-eleventh of the total length of the body. There are 56 vertebrae, with 14 pairs of ribs. This species, according to Collett, feeds chiefly on minute crustaceans, mainly Calanus finmar-chicus and Euphausia inermis, and not on fish. Until lately it was _considered the rarest of the whales of European seas, and was only known to science from a few individuals stranded on the _coasts of northern Europe at long intervals, the skeletons of which have been preserved in museums. The most southern point at which it has been met with hitherto is Biarritz in France. Since the establishment of the whaling station near the North Cape it has been shown to be a regular summer visitor, and in 1885 771 individuals were captured on the coast of Finmark. (4) Balxnoptera rostrata, the lesser fin whale or rorqual, is the smallest species found in the northern seas, rarely exceeding 30 feet in length. Its colour is greyish black above, whilst the under side is white, including the whole of the lower side of the tail; the inner side of the flippers is white ; and there is a broad white band across the outer side, which is a very characteristic mark of the species ; the baleen is yellowish white. The dorsal fin in this and the last species is comparatively high, and placed far forwards on the body. This whale has usually 48 vertebrae, of which 11 bear ribs. It is common in summer in the fjords of Norway, and is often seen around the British Isles. It has been taken, though rarely, in the Mediterranean, and it ranges as far north as Davis Strait. Rorquals are met with in almost all seas throughout the world, but further and more accurate observations are required before their specific characters and geographical distribution can be made out. Nearly all the individuals hitherto examined with any care, wdiether from the North Pacific, the Australian seas, or the Indian Ocean, come very near in structure to one or the other of the Atlantic forms described above, so much so that some zoologists have been induced to believe that there are but four species, each of which has a wide, almost cosmopolitan range, while others have described and named almost every individual specimen captured as belonging to a different species.
Two totally distinct forms of whalebone whales, Rachianectes glaucus, the grey whale of the North Pacific (California and Japan), and Ncobalxna marginata of New Zealand, have never been found in the British seas (see vol. xv. p. 395).
II. ODONTOCETI or Toothed Whales.
Only one member of this group, the sperm whale or cachalot (Physeter macrocephalus), rivals the large whalebone whales in size, its length and bulk being about equal to, or somewhat exceeding,
the Arctic right whale, from which, however, it is very different in outward appearance and in structure. The head is about one-third of the length of the body, very massive, high and truncated in front, owing its huge size and remarkable form mainly to the great accumulation of a peculiarly modified form of fatty tissue, filling the large hollow on the upper surface of the skull. The oil contained in cells in this great cavity, when refined, yields spermaceti, and the thick covering of blubber, which everywhere envelopes the body, produces the valuable sperm-oil of commerce. The single blowhole is a longitudinal slit, placed at the upper and anterior extremity of the head to the left side of the middle line. The opening of the mouth is on the under side of the head, con-and grey below, the colours gradually shading into each other. The only known species of sperm whale is one of the most widely distributed of animals, being met with, usually in herds or "schools," in almost all tropical and subtropical seas, but not occurring, except accidentally, in the Polar regions. Not unfre-quently specimens appear on the coasts of Great Britain, but only as solitary stragglers, or as dead carcases, floated northwards by the Gulf Stream. It is remarkable that every case of which we have an accurate record has been an old male. The food of the sperm whale consists mainly of various species of cephalopods (squid and cuttlefish), but they also eat fish of considerable size. The substance called "ambergris," formerly used in medicine and now in perfumery, is a concretion formed in the intestine of this whale, and is found floating on the surface of the seas it inhabits. Its genuineness is proved by the presence of the horny beaks of the cephalopods on which the whale feeds.
The remaining Odontoeeti are all animals of much smaller size Bottle-than the sperm whale, but to several of them the name of nose "whale" is commonly applied. The hyperoodon, sometimes whale, called "hottlenose," a name also vaguely given to several species of dolphin, is a regular inhabitant of the North Atlantic, passing the summer in the Spitzbergen seas and going farther south in winter. It is allied to the sperm whale, and resembles it in possessing a large store of oil in the upper part of the head, which yields spermaceti when refined ; on this account, and also for the sake of the blubber, which supplies an oil almost indistinguishable from sperm oil, this wdiale has been the object of a regular chase in recent years. It is stated in the article MAMMALIA (vol. xv. p. 396) that there are two species of this genus, Hyperoodon rostratus, the common hyperoodon, and H. latifrons, attaining when adult, respectively, the length of 24 and 30 feet; but recent investigations have shown that the latter is the male and the former the female of the same species. They feed exclusively on cephalopods, and are practically toothless; the only teeth wdiich exist in the adult,—namely, a small pair at the front of the lower jaw,—are concealed beneath the gum during life. Smaller allied species, belonging to the genera Ziphius and Mesoplodon, occasionally find their way into British seas, but their proper habitat appears to be the South Seas.
It frequently happens that large herds or " schools " of whales Ca'ing or are captured in bays or inlets on the rocky coasts of Scotland, pilot or the Orkney or Shetland Islands. These are the so-called ca'ing whale, or pilot whale (Globicephalus melas), the grindhval of the Faroe Islanders and Norwegians. They attain the length of 20 feet, and are of a nearly uniform black colour, except a line down the middle of the under surface, which is grey. They are characterized by the round or globose form of the fore-part of the head, occa-sioned by the great development of a cushion of fat placed over the rostrum of the skull in front of the blowhole, and by the great length and narrowness of the pectoral fin. Their destruction in large numbers, amounting sometimes to hundreds at a time, arises from their eminently sociable character and their habit, when attacked, of rushing together and blindly following the leaders of the herd. When they are seen in the neighbourhood of land, the fishermen endeavour to get to seaward of them in their boats, and with shouting and firing of guns to drive them into a bay or fjord, pursuing them until they run themselves on shore in their alarm.
The beluga (Delphinapterus leucas) is often called the Beluga "white whale," though scarcely exceeding the length of or whit* 12 feet. Its colour is almost pure white, and it has no whale, dorsal fin, but a low ridge in its place. It is an inhabitant of the Arctic seas, extending on the American coast as far south as the river St Lawrence, which it ascends for a considerable distance. Several instances of its occurrence on tho coast of Scotland are recorded, and it has been kept for some time in captivity in America, and even in London. Its external char-acters are represented in vol. xv. p. 399, fig. 50.
The other cetaceans of this group are generally distinguished as narwhals, grampuses, killers, bottlenoses, dolphins, and porpoises, and are not usually called whales.
We have no certain knowledge of the existence of whalebone Fossil whales before the latter part of the Eocene period. The earliest species, known forms were allied to the existing Balsenopterse. Right whales (Balsena), as might be expected in the case of such a highly

specialized form, have not been found older than the Pliocene; and
it is interesting to note that, instead of the individuals diminish-
ing in bulk as we approach the times we live in, as with many
other groups of animals, the contrary has been the case, no known
extinct species of whale equalling in size those that are now to be
met with in the ocean. The size of whales, as of all other things
whose most striking attribute is magnitude, has been greatly ex-
aggerated ; but, when reduced to the limits of sober fact, the Green-
land right wdiale of 50 feet long, the sperm wdiale of 60, and the
great northern rorqual (Balmnoptera sibbaldii) of 80 exceed all
other organic structures known, past or present. Instead of living
in an age of degeneracy of physical growth, we are in an age of
giants, but, it may be, at the end of that age. Through countless
ages of time whales have been gradually shaped into their present
wonderful form and gigantic size ; but the very perfection of their
structure and their magnitude combined, the rich supply of oil
protecting their internal parts from cold, the beautiful apparatus
of wdialebone by which their nutrition is provided for, have been
fatal gifts, wdiich, under the sudden revolution produced on the
surface of the globe by the development of the wants and arts
of civilized man, cannot but lead to their extinction in the not
far future. (W. H. F.)
WHALE FISHERIES.
Commercially these may be conveniently classified under three heads,—the British, the American, and the Norwegian. The im-plements used, and the mode of capture of the different kinds of whales, being for the most part the same in all cases, the detailed account given below may be held to be of general application, unless the contrary is expressly stated. Whaler. The whaler is a vessel of from 400 to 500 tons gross register, rigged either as a ship or a barque, and provided with auxiliary engines of some 75 horse-power. Built after the strongest fashion, she is protected along the water-line by an additional planking of iron bark, an Australian wood of great hardness ; the bows are strengthened inside by beams and knees and outside by plates of iron. Underneath the hold-beams about 50 iron tanks are fitted, each capable of containing 200 to 250 tons of oil; above the hold-beams a deck is laid, engine and boiler space being reserved in the stern. A vessel of this description carries 8 whale-boats, and is manned by 50 to 60 hands all told. Her working expenses at sea, exclusive of insurance and interest on capital, are about £500 per month, and her cost as she leaves the builder's hands, supplied with all appurtenances, but exclusive of sea stores, is about Whale- £17,500. The whale-boat is 27 feet in length and 6 feet in breadth, boat. with a depth amidships of 2 feet 6 inches. The bow is covered in for the distance of a few feet, forming a sort of platform, through which there project two wooden posts, that farthest forward being called the "gun-bollard head," on which the harpoon gun is mounted, while round the other, farther aft, the whale-line is run. At the stem, between the "head boards," a pulley is sunk, over which the whale-line glides. On the port bow, beside the gun-bollard head, a small tub is fitted, into which is coiled that part of the whale-line known as the "foregoer." The after-part of the boat, as well as a part amidships, is fitted up for the reception of the whale-line. The whale-boat is manned by five oarsmen and a boat-steerer. The bow oar acts as harpooner and has charge of the boat; the stroke oar is "line-manager" and watches the whale-Harpoon line while it is running. The harpoon gun, now almost univer-gun. sally used, measures 4 feet 6 inches in length and weighs 75 lb ; the barrel is 3 feet long with 1^ inches bore and is mounted in a wooden stock, tapering behind into a pistol handle. The weapon is fired by means of percussion caps, doghead, and trigger-line, the nipples being protected from sea spray by a movable brass cover. Mounted in a swivel on the gun-bollard head, the harpoon gun from its elevated position commands both bows as well as right ahead ; and with a charge of 11 drachms of powder it projects the Har- harpoon with force and precision to a distance of 25 yards. Har-jioons. poons are of two kinds, known respectively as gun and hand harpoons ; the former are used as weapons of attack, the latter to assist in securing a whale that is already harpooned. The gun harpoon measures 4 feet in length and weighs 12 lb. The " shank," or that part which enters the gun, is perforated throughout its length by an elongated slit, so as to allow the " shackle " connecting the harpoon with the line to remain outside the mouth of the gun when the shank is inserted in the barrel. When the gun is fired, the shackle travels along the slit until it is brought up by the butt, where the two rods of which the shank is composed unite, and after that the line is drawn out by the harpoon. The head of the harpoon is triangular and flattened, the two sides being con-tinued backwards to form the barbs, which may be movable or fixed. When movable, they are attached to the head by steel pins, and previous to being fired fold backwards and lie parallel to the shank ; the weapon having pierced a whale, and the strain on the whale-line causing it to retract, the barbs spread out and assume a transverse position, so as greatly to impede the withdrawal of the instrument. The hand harpoon is a light and efficient weapor.
which was introduced by the Americans, by whom it is known as a "toggle iron." It consists of a head and shank of iron, and is mounted on a wooden stock, by which it is darted. The head, a flattened piece of steel, somewhat triangular in form, is connected with the extremity of the shank by a steel pin, on which it pivots and moves freely. Previous to use the head folds back along the shank, in which position it is retained by a wooden pin. After the weapon has been darted into a whale, the strain on the line breaks the wooden pin, and the head assumes a position at right angles to the shank, somewdiat in the form of the letter T, and becomes transfixed in the fibrous tissue under the blubber. The shank is a rod of J-inch iron, 2 feet 6 inches long, expanding at its upper extremity to form a socket to receive the wooden stock. The hand harpoon measures 8 feet in length, and, exclusive of the line, weighs 10 lb. Expert harpooners can dart the weapon about 5 yards with considerable force and accuracy. Whale-line Whale-is three-stranded rope, 2| inches in circumference, composed of the line, finest hemp, 32 yarns per strand ; 600 fathoms are coiled into each whale-boat. The line is joined to the harpoon by the "foregoer," a piece of rope somewhat lighter and more pliable than whale-line. The foregoer being the only part of the line drawn out by the harpoon while in flight, its length, usually from 10 to 12 fathoms, regulates the distance the harpoon may be fired. The whale-lance Whale consists of a simple rod of i-inch iron, 6 feet long, one end flattened lance, to form a small lance-shaped point with cutting edges, the other expanding to form a socket to receive a short wooden handle. Gun lances, bomb lances, and exploding harpoons of various forms and devices have from time to time been introduced ; but, mainly from the fact that in recent years the difficulty in securing a cargo lies not so much in effecting the capture of the animal as in discover-ing its whereabouts, and in approaching sufficiently near to permit the use of the harpoon, they have never come into general use.
Whether the ship is cruising amongst loose ice under canvas Whale-or lying "made fast" to a floe, a careful look-out is kept on board hunting from the crow's nest (a barrel lashed to the main-top-gallant mast-head) as well as from the deck. Immediately on a whale being seen, boats are manned and sent in pursuit. If the animal is feeding, which it generally does when near the surface by swimming back-wards and forwards horizontally round an ellipse, great caution is necessary to prevent its becoming aware of the approach of the boats. On the other hand, if the wdiale is "spanning," i.e., swimming in a decided direction and appearing at the surface at in-tervals more or less regular, less caution is observed. In either case as well as under less usual circumstances the wdiale-boat, endeavouring to keep out of the angle of vision of the animal, approaches it from behind, swiftly but quietly ; the harpooner rises to his gun and points it at the animal's back, withholding his fire, however, until within as short a distance as possible. On being harpooned the Greenland right whale usually dives perpendicularly, remaining under water about forty minutes and drawing out some 600 to 700 fathoms of line before it returns to the surface. Whales descend with such velocity that they have been known to break their upper jaw by coming into violent con-tact with the bottom even in 400 fathoms of water. Before the animal has returned to the surface other boats have arrived upon the scene, and, on the reappearance of the whale, give chase and attach more harpoons. Again the wdiale dives, but soon returns to the surface, still more exhausted. Whenever its motions become sufficiently slow to permit the approach of the boats, the lance is used, a few thrusts in the region of the heart or lungs being speedily fatal. Quantities of blood are thrown up by the spiracles ; the animal lashes the water with its fins, and, after rushing violently through the water in its dying agony, rolls over on its side and lies stiff and rigid at the surface. Under favourable circumstances the capture of a full-grown wdiale from the time of first harpooning until its death occupies from one to one and a half hours. The operation of flensing is next performed. The body of the whale is lashed lengthwise alongside the ship with its under surface above water; the "cant-purchase," a powerful tackle, is then attached to the commencement of a transverse slip of blubber cut at the neck, known as the "cant-piece." By means of the cant-purchase the body is caused to rotate, whilst the fat is removed from the different parts as they appear above water in large "slips" or "blanket-pieces," each a ton or more in weight. After being received on deck, the blubber is cut into pieces about a foot square and stowed into the " 'tween-decks." The wdialebone is removed from each side of the upper jaw as it appears above water en bloc. The process of "cutting-in" occupies the ship's company about three hours. The only subsequent operations are the cutting up of the blubber into small pieces and its stowage in the oil tanks. The removal of the gum from the whalebone, the separation of the plates, and their stowage in the 'tween decks are operations per-formed subsequently.
British Fisheries.
Greenland Eight Whale.—The Greenland right wdiale (Baleena Green-mysticetus) is found amongst, or in the near vicinity of, the Polar land fish ice. Its habitat, however, is materially reduced in extent by the ing.


































Davis Strait fishing.

















Hud-son's Bay fishing.
shallowness of many parts of the Arctic Ocean—e.g., of the Barents and Kara Seas and the sea to the north of Siberia—localities where the species is quite unknown. The fishing is prosecuted off Greenland and in Davis Strait by the British, and at Behring Strait by the Americans.
Sailing either directly from the home ports in April or proceeding thither after prosecuting the sealing, the British whale ships arrive at the north Greenland whaling-grounds off the west coast of Spitz-bergen early in May. If it is a "close" season, i.e., if the ice of the Barents Sea comes west round the south end of Spitzbergen, and effects a junction with the Greenland ice, so as to form a south-east pack, the ships have sometimes to force their way through several hundred miles of ice before reaching the grounds. On the other hand, if it is an " open " season, as more usually occurs, the barrier ice in lat. 80° may be reached without hindrance. In cruising for whales certain indications are sought which the whale-men know by experience to be favourable to the appearance of the animal. The first of these is " whaling ice," or moderately loose ice with close pack or floes in the neighbourhood. The second is abundance of food. The presence of this condition may be ascertained by a surface net, or it may be inferred from the colour of the water, which varies from the barrenness of clear cold cerulean to the richness of opaque and warm olive green. The crustacean Calanus fmmarchicus, the pteropod Clione limacina, and the gas-teropod Limacina helicina are amongst the most abundant forms, the first-mentioned contributing perhaps nine-tenths of the whale's food. Yet very little is known positively as to the food of the Greenland right whale. According to whalemen (and the idea has hitherto been generally accepted by naturalists), the animal lives upon various invertebrate forms, such as Actiniae, Schise, Oliones, Medusse, Cancri, and Helices. Scoresby states that some of these genera are always to be seen wherever whales are found stationary and feeding. Dr John Murray, however, is of opinion that whales also resort for food to the larger forms of pelagic fauna wdiich exist in the immediate vicinity of the bottom of the ocean, and the
i
iresence of which was ascertained during the course of the '' Chal-enger " investigations. The third condition is abundance of the higher forms of life, such as birds, especially guillemots (Uria grylla) and looms (Alca arra), also narwhals (Monodon monoceros), seals, bears, &c. The whales make their appearance amongst the ice near the sea edge about 15th May, but only remain in the locality until the opening of the barrier ice permits them to resume their northward journey, for usually about the middle of June they suddenly disappear from these grounds, and are last seen going north-west. The north Greenland whale-fishing is then over for the season. If unsuccessful in obtaining a cargo at the northern grounds, the whale ships next proceed southwards as far as lat. 75°; then, if the sea is sufficiently open, they penetrate westwards until the coast of Greenland is visible. There they cruise amongst the ice until August, when the darkness of the nights puts an end to the fishing.
If the south-west fishing is first prosecuted, the vessels arrive at the ice edge near Resolution Island in April. Here, although numbers of large whales are usually seen, yet, owing to the boisterous weather and the compact nature of the ice, the fishing is seldom very successful, so that the majority of the vessels, after prosecuting the "saddle " sealing at Newfoundland or Greenland, pro-ceed direct to Disco, where they usually arrive early in May. The whales make their appearance at South-East Bay about 15th May, and here, where once a great fishing was carried on, a few whales may be killed. The dangerous passage of Melville Bay is next performed and the whale ships, entering the north water in June, push on towards the sounds. If there is a "land-floe across," i.e., if the land-ice of the west side is continuous across the entrance of Ponds Bay and Lancaster Sound, whales will be seen in considerable numbers and good cargoes may be obtained; but immediately the land-floe breaks up the whales depart to the westward. When there is no land-floe across, the whales proceed at once into the secluded waters of Eclipse Sound and Prince Regent Inlet, where they resort during the summer months. At this season of the year most of the vessels cruise in the sounds, wdiile a few search the middle ice, until the darkness of the August nights compels them to seek an anchorage in some of the harbours of the west side, where they await the return of the whales south. This migration takes place on the formation of young ice in the sounds, usually in the latter part of September. Only the larger individuals, however, and the great majority of these males, come close down along the land of the west side. These the ships send their boats out to intercept, and this forms the inshore fishing or " rock-nosing ", which is continued until the formation of young ice drives the vessels out of their harbours, usually early in October.
A few vessels, American as well as British, occasionally enter Hudson's Bay and prosecute the fishing in the neighbourhood of Southampton Island, and even enter Fox Channel. There are whaling-stations in Cumberland Inlet, and a few vessels usually remain all winter, ready to take advantage of the opening of the ice in the following spring. Here the young as well as the old whales make their appearance in May; the former have migrated south during the previous autumn amongst the archipelago of islands forming the west side into Fox Channel, thence by Hudson's Strait to the pack-ice off Resolution Island, where, together with the old whales, they probably winter. Early in May the whale-men drag their boats over the ice to the open water at the floe edge, and the whales are seen amongst the pack-ice in the offing, the younger whales being nearest the land-floe. Encampments are formed along the floe edge, and the fishing is continued until the whales migrate north in June.
Produce.
Value
The average full-grown Greenland right whale yields about 15 Produce tons of oil and 15 cwts. of whalebone, although individuals are of Green-occasionally killed which yield nearly 30 tons of oil and 30 cwts. of land wdialebone. The whalebone consists of about 590 slips, the longest whale-measuring 10 feet 6 inches and weighing 5J lb in an average animal, fishing. 12 feet 6 inches and 9J lb in a very large one. The following table shows the returns of these fisheries from 1860 to 1886 inclusive, in so far as British vessels were concerned. It wull be seen that a constant decrease has taken place both in the number of whales killed and in the total value of the produce. The price to which oil has fallen little more than pays the expense and trouble attending its being taken on board and its subsequent pre-paration for the market, and there can be little doubt that, but for the high price which whalebone commands, the fishing would long ere this have been abandoned as unremunerative.
Of Oil per cwt.
Of Whalebone 1 per cwt.
Whales Killed.
. d.
£ s. d. 20 10 0 18 0 0
26 0 0
27 0 0 26 10 0
12 19 7 10 4 9
£ 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 9 2 3
1 16
2 2 1 18 1 14 1 19 1 19 1 18 1 16 1 16
£
70,828 112,305 69,185 48,627 54,818 57,039 63,563 12,366 71,529 15,960 54,871 72,647 87,601 89,508 103,130 60,770 79,009 79,892 36,780 58,892 63,858 44,26S 47,011 28,150 84,132 33,233 34,652
1291 1947 940 618 762 742 868 228 1228 266 962 1348 1392 1429 1662 925 987 867 360 755 1000 709 660 200 912 430 320
1539 2178 1051 679 903 869 933 240 1357 207 1111 1544 1486 1475 1680 970 1118 935 400 829 1074 696 582 216 932 435 370
1860 1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870 1871 1872 1873 1874 1S75 1876 1877 1878 1879 ISSO ISSI 1882 1S83 1884 18S5 18S6
190 97 25 65 58 46 17 130 17 85 148 113 170 208 96 70 95 10 72 127 58 79 17 79 29 19

Of Total Produce.
81 24 134 21 86 152 138 172 209 98 83 97 29 78 132 81 79 18 90 41 34
84 193
26 0 0
24 15 20 0
22 0
23 15
18 5
18 10
24 10
24 10
26 0
31 0
42 10 0
60 0 0
70 0
50 0
37 10
35 0
60 0
110 0 72 10 60 0 82 10
1 The figures given are the values of "size-hone," i.e., slips of whalebone exceeding 6 feet in length, which is twice the value of whalebone under that length, so that before the exact value of the produce could be arrived at it has been found necessary to compute 17 per cent, of the whalebone at half the figure given, being the proportion of whalebone under size in an average whale.
History. —As already stated (see above, p. 524) a right whale fishery History of great importance was prosecuted in the temperate waters of the of Green* Atlantic at a very early period, more especially by the hardy seamen land of the Basque provinces from the 10th to the 16th century. Author- whale ities are now agreed that the whale pursued was Balsena biscay- fishing. ensis, which differs from B. mysticetus in its smaller size, its greater activity, and its more southern distribution. The Greenland right whale fishery owes its origin to Henry Hudson's first voyage to Greenland and Spitzbergen in 1607. His glowing accounts of the great numbers of whales and morses led to the despatch of Jonas Poole to the Greenland Sea by the Muscovy Company, and the success of his four voyages (1609-1612) speedily attracted the vessels of other nations. For a time the English endeavoured to obtain a monopoly of the fishing; but, the other nations resisting, hostilities were engaged in, which resulted in the discomfiture of the English by a Dutch fleet in 1618. Thereafter it was agreed that different parts of the Spitzbergen coast should be allotted to different nationalities. The English interest in the industry, how-ever, declined, and the fishing fell mainly into the hands of the Dutch, who until 1640 also carried on an important fishing in the seas surrounding the island of Jan Mayen. Meanwhile they did not neglect the Spitzbergen fishery, in which 10,019 whales were taken by them in the ten years 1679-1688. About 1680, when their fishing was probably at its most prosperous stage, they had 260 vessels and 14,000 seamen employed. Their fishery continued to flourish on almost as extensive a scale until 1770, when it began

to decline, and finally, owing to the war, came to a close before the end of the century. At the same time the Germans prosecuted the fishing to a very considerable extent: 79 vessels from Hamburg and Bremen were employed in 1721, and during the fifty years 1670-1719 an average of 45 vessels sailed yearly from Hamburg alone. German vessels continued to engage in the fishing until 1873. The Spaniards, although they took part in the pursuit at an early date, and appear at first to have supplied the skilled por-tion of the crews of the English and Dutch vessels, never seem to have engaged largely in the northern fishery ; 20 of their vessels were employed in it in 1721, but before the end of the century they had entirely abandoned the occupation. The Danes, although likewise early appearing on the Spitzbergen fishing-grounds, never pursued the industry on a large scale until after the commencement of the Davis Strait fishing in 1721, in which year they had 90 sail engaged ; in 1803 the number had fallen to 35. As for the English fishing, although sundry attempts had been made to revive it, notably in 1673 and in 1725 (the latter year by the South Sea Company), it was not until a bounty of 20s. per ton on the burden of the ships employed, granted in 1733, had been increased to 40s. in 1749 that the industry began to revive ; in the same year vessels sailed from Scotland for the first time. Notwithstanding the re-duction of the bounty to 30s. the number of ships sailing from British ports in 1787 amounted to 255. In 1814 the value of the gross freights of the Greenland and Davis Strait fleets amounted to £700,000, and in the same year the " Resolution " of Peterhead, Captain Souter, returned from Greenland with 44 whales, produc-ing 299 tons of oil, the largest cargo ever brought into Great Britain. In 1824 the bounty was finally withdrawn. Since that time, owing to the scarcity of whales, and still more to their in-creasing shyness, caused in a great measure by the injudicious use of steam, the returns of the fishery have been gradually decreasing and the vessels employed have become fewer. Sperm Sperm Whale.—Since 1853 British vessels have ceased to prose-whale cute this fishing. Begun in 1775, the British sperm whale fishing fishing, soon increased and by 1791 had assumed considerable importance, when the vessels engaged numbered 75, all hailing from London. It was British sperm whalemen who opened up the whaling-grounds of the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
American Fisheries. The American whale fisheries embrace the Behring's Strait or Arctic fishery and the sperm whale or southern fishery. Behring Greenland Right Whale.—As already mentioned above, the object Strait of this fishery is the capture of Balsena mysticetus. In this case, fishery, however, the whales are mostly sought, not among the ice, but in open water, the vessels used being less adapted to ice navigation than those of the British, and nearly all are propelled by sail power-alone. The hand harpoon is preferred and bomb lances are used to kill the whales. The vessels sail mostly from San Francisco in March, and arrive at the ice edge off Cape Navarin, where the fishing is first prosecuted, in May. The whales disappear during summer, but return in the autumn, when the "fall" fishing is carried on in the neighbourhood of Point Barrow ; between seasons the vessels go south and prosecute the sperm whaling. The Behring Strait fishery was commenced in 1848, and in the three following years 250 ships obtained cargoes. In 1871 34 vessels were abandoned in the ice off Cape Belcher, the crews making good their escape to other vessels ; again in 1876 12 vessels experienced a similar fate.
Sperm Sperm Whale.—-The capture of the sperm whale (Physeter macro-whale cephalus) is prosecuted throughout the tropical seas of the globe, fishing. The distribution of the animal being, however, restricted to deep water, the fishing is usually carried on at a distance from land. The vessels used are generally barques of about 300 tons, carrying five boats and manned by a crew of thirty hands all told. The vessels have no particular time for sailing or arriving in port; the duration of a voyage is generally three years. The sperm whale is killed in the same manner as the Greenland right whale ; the use of the hand harpoon is, however, preferred ; and the whale-boats, which are not required to withstand contact with ice, are less strongly built, and much lighter and swifter than those used in the northern fisheries. The ordinary sperm whale yields about 60 barrels of oil ( = 10 tons), although large males are occasionally killed which yield a greater quantity. The oil is boiled at sea ; hence its freedom from smell and the consequent high price which it commands as compared with that of the bottlenose whale.
Sperm whale fishing seems to have commenced early in the 18th century, the whaling community of Nantucket embarking in the industry about 1712 ; and in 1774, before the commencement of the War of Independence, a fleet of 360 vessels was engaged in it. This fishery perhaps reached its climax in 1846, when it occupied a total of 735 vessels, having an aggregate capacity of 233,199 tons. During the period 1877 to 1886 inclusive the average annual number of vessels employed was 159, their average annual aggregate burden being 35,713 tons. The average annual imports into the United States of whaling produce were as follows:—of sperm oil
31,824 barrels ( = 5304 tons), of whale oil 29,180 barrels ( = 4863 tons), of whalebone 325,559 tb ( = 145 tons). New Bedford and San Francisco are the principal whaling-ports.
Norwegian Fisheries.
The Norwegian fisheries include that of the fin whale and that of the bottle-nose whale.
Fin Whale.—Associated with this fishery is the name of SvendFin Foyn, the seaman who first invented apparatus to attack success- whale fully the large and active fin whales which abound in northern seas, fishery and at certain seasons frequent the fjords of the north coast of Norway. The principal feature of the whaling gear is the use of an exploding harpoon, which virtually kills the animal immediately it is struck. Owing to its weight, a gun of large size is required to throw the harpoon, and in turn a craft of considerable burden is required to carry the gun. The harpoon bears a shell containing I lb powder and weighs 123 lb; the gun, 4J inches thick at the muzzle, with 3 inches bore, requires a charge of 1 ft powder, and weighs about 15 cwts. ; the vessel answering the purpose of a whale-boat is a steamer of about 80 tons burden and 30 horse-power. It is used not only for carrying the gun and pursuing the whales but also for towing the bodies of the animals when dead to the "factory" on shore, where the operation of flensing is performed. The whales hunted (in the order of their size and relative value) are (1) the blue whale (Balsenoplera sibbaldii), (2) the humpback (Megaptera longimana), (3) the common rorqual (Baleenoptera musculus), (4) Rudolphi's rorqual (B. borealis), and (5) the lesser rorqual (B. rostrata). All are killed for their oil, which is much inferior in quality to that of the Greenland right whale, for their whalebone, which is short and brittle, and for their bones and flesh, which are converted into manure. The whalers hail from the south of Norway (Sandefjord, Tonsberg, &c.), and have their whaling sta-tions or "factories " on the fjords along the coast of Finmark. The fishing is prosecuted only in summer. In 1884 450 fin whales were killed, in 1885 1398, and in 1886 954.
Bottlenose Whale.—The bottlenose whale (Syperoodon rostratus) Bottle-abounds during summer in the northern seas adjacent to the ice nose edge, from the Labrador coast on the west to Nova Zembla on the whale east, but more particularly in the neighbourhood of Jan Mayen and fishery. Iceland, where the fishing is usually prosecuted during May, June, and July. Previous to May the weather is generally too stormy, and about the middle of July the whales, although hitherto numer-ous, suddenly disappear. The average-sized bottlenose whale yields 22 cwts. of oil, 5 per cent, of which is spermaceti ; the oil is superior even to sperm as a lubricant. Although the whale - ships had fre-quented the northern seas for centuries, and sailed over the haunts of these animals season after season, it was not until recent years that they were discovered to exist there in immense numbers. The fishing may be said to date from the capture of 203 of these animals by the "Eclipse," Captain David Gray, of Peterhead in 1882. In the following year a number of British vessels took up the fishing, and at the same time the Norwegians embarked in it to such an extent that the market was soon glutted with oil, and the price fell from £55 per ton to £18, which no longer renders the industry remunerative to British vessels. A fleet of about thirty small sail-ing vessels annually leaves the Norwegian ports to prosecute this fishing. In 1885 they killed over 1300 whales and in 1886 about 1700.
Literature.—On British whale fisheries, see Scoresby, Arctic Regions, Voyage to
the Greenland Sea in 1822; M'Culloeh, Diet, of Commerce; Markham, Whaling
Cruise ; Southwell, " Notes on the Seal and Whale Fisheries," in Zoologist, 1S84,
&c. ; F, D. Bennett, Whaling Voyage round tin Globe, 18SS-S6; and Beale, The
Sperm Whale and its Captors, 1839. On American whale fisheries the following
works may be consulted:—Starbuck, Hist, of Amur. Whale Fishery from its
Earliest Inception to 1876; Report of U. S. Comm. of Fisheries, 1875, vol. iv. ;
Whalemen's Shipping List and Merchants' Transcript (New Bedford) : and Scam-
mon, Mammalia of North-Western America, 1874. On the Norwegian whale
fisheries there are various papers in the Zoologist, by A. H. Cocks, 1S84 and
succeeding years. (R. GR.)







Footnotes

Icel., hvalr ; Dan. and Swed., hval; Anglo-Saxon, hweel; Germ., wal, walfisch. The meaning apparently is '' roller," the word being closely allied to 1' wheel" (Skeat).







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