The common name of this species indicates the main threat that has faced it for many years; Minke was an 18th Century Norwegian whaler who hunted small whales, flouting the whaling rules of the day (7). Despite the world moratorium on commercial whaling set up by the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1982, minke whales are still hunted by Norway and Japan (2). Norway officially objected to the moratorium, and Japan kills whales for 'scientific research', but the carcasses are commercially processed after the research has been carried out (2). Other potential threats facing minke whales, and indeed all cetacea, include pollution and reduction in prey abundance, perhaps as a result of over-fishing (7). Entanglement in fishing nets and the effects of long-term climate change are also likely to pose problems, but as yet the importance of these threats is unknown (7).
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