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A little more than 20 years ago, the illegal fishing of whales in the Southern Hemisphere came to an end. Thousands of the scientific papers were devoted to questions related to the development of whales. Biological, economic , technological , social and nature preservation aspects attracted the attention of hundreds of scientists, engineers, technologists, designers, and shipbuilders for many years. The halting of the functioning of an entire portion of the world's ocean fishing was not an ordinary event. Therefore even up to present time there is maintained among the world's scientific community a great interest in the history of whaling, and in the scientific information which was gathered over the course of many years of sea fishing and scientific research expeditions.
The Soviet whale fishing, which started with one flotilla In 1947 in the Southern Hemisphere, became a relatively powerful field after several years by which time it included four processing bases and dozens of modern whaling ships. In should be also noted that by the beginning of the Second World War (1939) the raw material base of Antarctic whaling was undercut to a significant extent and only the war itself hindered its complete depletion. Proof of that is the slowing down of this activity by such traditional whaling countries as Norway and England, which had several flotillas working in the Antarctic: the industry did not prove itself worthwhile in economic terms. Obviously the growing Soviet whaling fleet did not have enough of a raw material base and, as a result, it, too, economically could not justify itself within the framework of the International Convention on Regulation of Whaling, a participant in which the Soviet Union became in 1947. Nevertheless, the processing bases, one bigger than another, went out to whale.
By signing the International Whaling Convention in 1946, the Soviet Union obligated itself to live up to the Rules of the industry. At te same time these rules were not lived up to by any single Soviet flotilla and the whaler caught practically any whale which they met (particularly those which gave the largest amount of whale oil). It is natural that such activity had to be hidden. That was possible to do only by falsifying the statistics which were presented to the International Whaling Commission. All the data was falsified, including the beginning and ending of the whaling, the numbers, species makeup, size of whales caught and regions of whaling (far beyond the permitted areas), age and sex (many females were caught and recorded as males, and many were lactating or very young) and the quantity of manufactured product. The real facts force one to believe that the international community must review practically all population statistics presented to the IWC about a variety of whale species, including humpbacks, southern blue whales, fin whales, sei whales, and Bryde whales. Furthermore, this data force one to review many of the traditional views on the distribution of whales in the world's oceans. It turns out, for example that the secret Soviet whaling industry killed major population of whales not only in the waters of New Zealand and the Antarctic, but also in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean and in the southwest Atlantic - that is, in most areas where significant numbers of whales in general were not known to be found until recently.
Whaling base ship Soviet UkraineIt is natural that the falsified commercial statistics, utilized as a base for accounting concerning the state of the numbers and well-being of the population of large types of whales warped the accuracy of the results. In so doing, the true (factual) data were sharply reduced and practically not available for use. Although back in 1982 the official stamp of secrecy was removed from the factual materials, they remained, as before, not very available for researchers and the retrospective evaluation of the damage which the Soviet whaling fleet inflicted on the population of large species of whales not only in the Antarctic but in the whole Southern Hemisphere. Starting in 1983, there began the destruction of original materials: decs journals, "passports" on the catch of whales in which was included the type of whale, size, sex, biological state, etc.As a result, much material was lost with no way of returning it. Only in 1995 there were published the real data which were collected and systematized by a group of scientists under the leadership of Professor V.A. Zemsky (Moscow): Candidate of Biological Sciences, D.D. Tormosov (Kaliningrad), Candidate of Biological Science, Yu. A. Mikhalev (Odessa), and Doctor of Biological Sciences, A A. Berzin (Vladivostok). All of these scientists, at one time or another, took part as scientific observers in the Soviet Antarctic whaling operations, and are professionally acquainted with the peculiarities of whaling. In the table below the real and falsified whale catch data during the trips in 1947-1972 is presented.
Species Whaling fleet "Slava" Whaling fleet "Soviet Ukraine"* Whaling fleet "Yury Dolgorukii"**
Whaling fleet "Soviet Russia"*** Total by species
IWC real IWC real IWC real IWC real IWC real
Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) 2529 2042 949 309 154 435 199 516 3831 3302
Pygmy blue whale (B. musculus brevicauda) - 1678 - 1820 - 1884 - 1476 - 6858
Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) 27952 22423 11077 4874 7481 5542 6125 4565 52635 37404
Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis) 3995 3084 11410 14223 5702 9861 8642 18926 29749 46094
Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) - 277 3 147 4 5 3 548 10 977
Minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) 715 123 383 51 64 52 87 122 1249 348
Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) 1579 21912 873 1691 150 7205 103 2441 2705 33249
Northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) 1 - 396 3 335 1 717 - 94 4 1542
Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) 5717 7134 16873 14237 9942 16603 18183 25144 50715 63118
Killer whale (Orcinus orca) 331 57 103 22 40 5 8 28 482 112
Northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampulatus) 2 - 7 1 1 1 1 8 6 10 15
Other whales - 3 - 17 - 1 - 8   29
Total by fleets 42818 59136 41675 37727 23539 42311 33358 53874 141390 193048
1 Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis)
2 Southern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon planifrons)
* 1959-1972 trips
** 1960-1972 trips
*** 1961-1972 trips

Based on the book "Soviet Antarctic Whaling Data (1947-1972)", Moscow, 1995



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