Historic whaling in Scottish waters and use of data for future protection

The scale/nature of whaling uncovered in the recently published paper in Aquatic Conservation on Historical occurrence of whales in Scottish Waters paints a bleaker picture of what was understood, though points to some signs of recovery & mitigation required for future protection.  Findings show that whaling off Scottish waters had a devastating impact on the species including fin, sei, blue, sperm & humpback whale & particularly on North Atlantic right whale with whaling contributing to the likely extinction of the species in the eastern North Atlantic.  It’s welcome news that some species of whales identified in this paper are showing some signs of recovery.  However, the future of the species appears uncertain particularly in light of impacts of climate change and other immediate threats such as entanglement in fishing gear and ship strikes for which mitigation measures should be urgently implemented in the region. This study also highlighted, that passive acoustic work such as that undertaken through the EU funded INTERREG Va COMPASS project could help identify and protect important habitat to help further recovery of large whales in this region.