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The Harvest of Pacific Walruses by the Pelagic Whaling Industry, 1848 to 1914

John R. Bockstoce and Daniel B. Botkin
Arctic and Alpine Research
Vol. 14, No. 3 (Aug., 1982), pp. 183-188
DOI: 10.2307/1551150
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1551150
Page Count: 6
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The Harvest of Pacific Walruses by the Pelagic Whaling Industry, 1848 to 1914
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Abstract

The most important agent in the historical reduction of the Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) population in the 19th century was the pelagic whaling industry. From 1848, when the whaling grounds of Bering Strait were discovered, to 1914, by which time the industry had collapsed, whaling vessels made more than 2700 cruises seeking bowhead whales in the waters of the western Arctic. Large numbers of walruses also were taken during those voyages. We present here the results of the first systematic attempt to determine the size of the pelagic whaling industry's walrus harvest. Our data are drawn from the best extant records: the logbooks of the whaling vessels. Our data indicate that in the course of their voyages, the whalers captured approximately 140,000 walruses.

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