Antarctic Whaling Leads to Conservation | Polar Unbound

Whaling stations had become more common since 1906, but it wasn’t until 1926 that Antarctic whaling entered into a new era of technology and slaughter. This year saw the introduction of a new kind of ship furnished with a chute for dragging entire whales onboard. These ships were accompanied by catchers, allowing the ships to exploit a wider range of territory. This shift as well as the emergence of steel hulled ships, radios, airplanes and powerful engines further advanced whalers’ hunting abilities. 

That being said, the rise in whalers also saw a rise in exploration and brought the first woman to set foot in Antarctica: Caroline Mikkelsen, who accompanied her husband on his whaling expedition in 1935. 

Furthermore, the alarmingly high rate of whale slaughter caused the British government to establish the Discovery Committee in 1923—the first major scientific committee in Antarctica. The committee was dedicated to researching whale biology, distribution and behavior and ultimately conducted impressive biological and hydrographic work. The Discovery Committee also led to improved whale conservation regulations and recommendations.