Many people see marine mammals in general as endangered and as a result not huntable. The reality is, however, that while some species are in danger of extinction, others are thriving. And within a species some stocks may be flourishing while others may be depleted and need protection. The fin whale is a good example. The Southern Hemisphere population is still dramatically depleted, while the populations in the North Pacific and the North Atlantic have likely returned to their pre-exploitation levels. Thus to state that the fin whale in general is endangered is simply scientifically wrong.
Twenty-three marine mammal species are permanent residents in the NAMMCO area, seven pinniped (seals) species and sixteen cetacean (whales and dolphins) species. Of these, all the seals and 12 whale species are hunted.
High historic levels of catches depleted a number of populations, but a reduction in harvest has allowed several species and stocks to increase significantly. The marine mammal stocks hunted in the NAMMCO area are able to sustain controlled levels of removals.
Responsible management regimes based on scientific advice, strict regulations, and control mechanisms ensure that the catches are sustainable.
An overview of population abundance and trends in abundance for the marine mammal stocks in the NAMMCO area can be found here for seals and here for cetaceans. More details, caveats and references are given in appendix 1 and 2, respectively, of the Report “Marine Mammals: A multifaceted Resource” that can be accessed here as a PDF file.