"The focus on this year's hunt is the humpback, which
was in serious danger of extinction just a few decades ago. They are
now a favorite of whale-watchers for their playful antics at sea, where
the beasts "” which grow as large as 40 tons "” throw themselves out of
Humpbacks feed, mate and give birth near shore, making them easy prey for whalers, who by some estimates depleted the global population to just 1,200 before the 1963 moratorium. The southern moratorium was followed by a worldwide ban in 1966...
...The American Cetacean Society estimates the humpback population has recovered to about 30,000-40,000 "” about a third of the number before modern whaling. The species is listed as "vulnerable" by the World Conservation Union.