‘We are Now in a Splendid Position for Whales’: Environmental Factors Affecting Nineteenth-Century Whaling in Baffin Bay

By Chesley W. Sanger, published May 1994


This paper examines both the environmental conditions and seasonal variations that impacted upon the Baffin Bay whale fisheries and the influence on whaling of the nature and habits of the Bowhead or Greenland Right that was the basis of these fisheries. Attention is drawn to the need for a successful whaling master to have a detailed knowledge of currents, temperatures and sea ice movements with the most experienced masters able to modify their strategies from the experience of previous voyages and adapted to specific seasonal characteristics. Using log books, journals and other primary source material, detailed reference is made to the environmental conditions of the various whaling grounds and the impact these conditions had on the whalers.

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Filed under: Atlantic | Other (Nineteenth C) | Arctic
Subjects include: Whaling & Fishing

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