| A taxonomy of world whaling : operations, eras, and sources - :3347 | National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
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A taxonomy of world whaling : operations, eras, and sources
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    "The history of whaling spans the entire globe and reaches more than a millennium into the past. All species of large cetaceans have been hunted by industrial whalers for commercial purposes, and several species have also been subject to small-scale whaling for domestic use (₃subsistence₄). Because whaling has been conducted using an evolving variety of technologies and methods, which were themselves developed and applied in geographically diverse circumstances, it has proven difficult to obtain a systematic, overall view of the enterprise. We propose a hierarchical taxonomy to better understand the history of whaling and improve our ability to analyze its ecological importance. As the fundamental unit in this taxonomy, a whaling operation is defined on the basis of who was involved, what was caught, where the whaling was carried out, why whales were taken, when the whaling took place, and how it was conducted. Approximately 120 such operations are provisionally identified here, and their major features are summarized and discussed. Each of the operations is assigned to one of 14 proposed eras. An era is defined principally in relation to the technology or method used to kill, secure, and process whales. Consideration is also given in this paper to data sources, and specifically to those sources needed to reconstruct catch histories of whale populations. Four time periods are identified for which the types of sources differ."

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