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Distribution and Migration, Exploitation, and Former Abundance of White Whales in Baffin Bay and Adjacent Waters.

Modern concerns about the status of certain marine mammals raise the question of how modern today's populations of today compare with those of historic or precommercial levels. Two recent Canadian publications explore this question for the beluga whale: "History of White Whale (Delphinapterus leucas) Exploitation in Eastern Hudson Bay and James Bay" by Randall R. Reeves and Edward Mitchell and "Distribution and Migration, Exploitation, and Former Abundance of White Whales (Delphinapterus leucas) in Baffin Bay and Adjacent Waters", also by Reeves and Mitchell; respectively, they are Canadian Special Publication of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 95 and 99.

By doing extensive study of both published and unpublished documents, the authors have presented useful reviews of the history of the exploitation of these mammals and the relative status of their stocks. Reported are current distributions for the regions studied and suggestions are made for additional research to determine movements of individuals and stock relationships and to help resolve questions on turnover rate, homing, and population size, and whether the Greenland harvest impinges on the Baffin Bay area whales. They also suggest historical studies in Scottish libraries, archives, and other collections to discover the impact of Scottish whaling on the species in the latter 1800's. Also discussed are stock identity, whaling sites, catches, and more.

Though the white whales still inhabit parts of Hudson Bay and James Bay, they are much diminished, the authors report, and they suggest protection of the estuaries presently and formerly used by the species. Publication No. 95 is 45 pages, paperbound; no. 99 is 34 pages, paperbound, and they are sold by Supply and Services Canada, Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0S9, at $5 in Canada and $6 elsewhere.
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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
Words:279
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