Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
The Northen bottlenose whale was hunted for centuries for the spermaceti oil contained in its head and as a souce of food for native peoples. Scottish, English, and Norwegian whalers hunted H. ampullatus commercially from the mid-1800's until 1973. Because of its behavior of approaching large vessels and defending injured group members, whalers found Northern bottlenose whales easy to hunt. This whale's behavior and the fact that the spermaceti oil contained in its head was of almost equal quality to that of the Sperm whale resulted in overhunting and gross reductions in Northern bottlenosed whale populations around the turn of the century (Bloch et al. 1996, Reeves et al. 1993).