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Management of Antarctic baleen whales amid past exploitation, current threats and complex marine ecosystems

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 08:53 authored by Leaper, R, Miller, C
As baleen whales recover from severe exploitation, they are probably subject to a wide variety of threats within the Antarctic marine ecosystem, including directed take. Here we review both the management and current status of Antarctic baleen whales and consider those threats likely to impact on them. Threats range from global problems - marine pollution and climate change - to localized issues including shipping, habitat disturbance, unregulated wildlife tourism and fishery activities. We identify the most pressing anthropogenic threats to baleen whales including scientific whaling and climate change. It is unclear whether current management approaches will be able to effectively encompass all these threats while also accounting both for the differing levels of scientific understanding and for the differing recovery rates of the whale species. For management we recommend the following: 1) incorporation of both ecosystem considerations and the suite of identified threats not limited to direct take, 2) identification of measurable indicators of changes in whales that allow more certainty in monitoring of populations and the environment, and 3) recognition of significant relationships between baleen whales and habitat features to provide information on distribution and use.


Publication title

Antarctic Science










Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Cambridge Journals

Place of publication

Cambridge UK

Rights statement

Copyright © 2011 Cambridge University Press

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Coastal or estuarine biodiversity

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