Population Estimates and Conservation Status
Because of their small size, minke whales were not hunted much during the early ages of industrial whaling, but as larger species became depleted particularly in the second half of the 20th century, hunting of minke whales has increased. In 1983, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has adopted a moratorium on commercial whaling that was implemented by most nations except Japan, Norway and Iceland. While today’s whaling nations are focussing on Antarctic minke whales as well as common minke whales in the Northwest Pacific and the Northeast Atlantic, all populations are suffering from habitat degradation induced by global climate change and other anthropogenic impacts, such as interactions with fisheries, pollution, man-made noise and ship strikes. The cumulative effect of multiple factors may cause a significant impact on all cetacean populations including minke whales.