Reforming the Whale

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
0207 434 4479 ext 211

LUNCHTIME LECTURE 12:30–13:00 Wednesday 3 April 2019

ancient whale

Humankind and whales have had a remarkably long but rather bloody relationship. This stretches from prehistory, when stranded carcasses provided food to coastal communities, and includes the infamous heyday of industrial whaling, when various great whale species were relentlessly ‘mined’ in countless numbers for the then highly-valuable oil found in their bodies. Populations duly crashed, forcing the whaling fleets to ever more remote and inhospitable waters. In 1946, the International Whaling Commission (IWC) was established to try to equitably share the whale stocks between the whaling nations. It failed and, in 1982, it eventually agreed a global ban on commercial whaling which remains in place.

Despite our intertwined histories, it is only relatively recently that many key aspects of the complex biology of whales has been recognised. Mark Peter Simmonds OBE is a biologist who has served as a member of the Scientific Committee of the IWC for over twenty years, also attending all the meetings of the Commission. Whaling remains a very hot topic and Mark will, reflect on human-whale interactions and the biology of whales. He is the Senior Marine Scientist of Humane Society International and a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bristol.

  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Doors will open at 12:15.
  • Tea will be served in the Library following the event.

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